Peters & Peters

Restraining assets before charging hands advantage to prosecutors

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the assets belonging to people suspected of benefitting from crime can be restrained, even before their owners have been charged. 

The aim is to preserve assets for confiscation, a process designed to deprive a convicted defendant of the benefit of their criminal conduct. 

Most of those assets are forfeited to the state.

However, according to the latest figures, in the last financial year, only a very small amount recovered through confiscation was used to compensate victims.

In this article for The Times, Neil Swift writes how, of late, prosecutors have been pursuing these orders more frequently, preventing individuals from paying for legal advice on challenging restraint, on the criminal investigation, or at trial if they are charged. With some investigations particularly taking many years, this raises many issues.


In particular, Neil discusses how without third-party funders, defendants must depend on the legal aid system, which is itself needing reform.


Please note that the article requires subscription.