The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 enables agencies, whether the police, HM Revenue & Customs, the Serious Fraud Office, or Trading Standards to restrain, or freeze the assets of persons under criminal investigation pending the outcome of a trial. If a person or a company is convicted of a relevant offence, confiscation proceedings to recover the proceeds of crime are part of the sentencing process.
Restraint of assets can happen at the very outset of any investigation and extend to assets overseas, company assets and any jointly held assets. Restraint orders can and often do remain in force for the entire duration of protracted investigations and later trials, and can cause considerable damage to personal and business life.
Restraint orders can however, be varied or discharged. Our lawyers are experts in representing clients who are subject to restraint and confiscation proceedings and have advised in several of the leading cases shaping the law in this area over the past two decades, including a case taken to the Supreme Court.