Church arch from below

Asset forfeiture

No other area of the criminal law has developed so rapidly and in such a complex way in the last 20 years.

Since 1986 there have been five substantive Acts of Parliament in the area of asset forfeiture and money laundering. The Asset Forfeiture Team in Furnival Chambers is well equipped to assist prosecutors, defence solicitors and those advising third parties about the operation of these powers in the High Court and the Crown Court.

The National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service are empowered to investigate and bring proceedings in the High Court for civil forfeiture under Part 5 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: property freezing injunctions, disclosure orders and civil recovery orders. The powers are often utilised where there is no prospect of securing a criminal conviction or where, for whatever reason, criminal proceedings have failed.

The confiscation legislation empowers the High Court and the Crown Court to make various types of civil orders to support linked criminal proceedings: powers to prevent disposal of assets and force their disclosure, manage the defendant’s and third party’s financial affairs and force payment of confiscation orders. The High Court and Crown Court powers are more draconian than comparable powers in purely civil cases.

Furnival Chambers recognises that this unique blend of complex criminal and civil law, changing at such a rapid pace and often requiring urgent action to be taken, brings particular difficulties and is highly demanding for the criminal practitioner, prosecutor, receiver or solicitor representing anyone interested in a defendant’s financial affairs.

In view of the potential criminal liability of the professional advisor under any of the money laundering offences within the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 or the Money Laundering Regulations, which extend to solicitors’ obligations on record keeping and knowing their clients’ practices, the need for independent, high quality, immediate advice and representation is apparent.

The Asset Forfeiture Team compliments the Confiscation Team at Furnival Chambers and is able to offer expert assistance on a comprehensive range of services in this field including:

  • Drafting of restraint, receivership, disclosure orders and witness statements in support, and subsequent High Court and Crown Court representation
  • Applications by defendants and third parties for discharge and variations of restraint and receivership orders whether in the Crown Court or High Court
  • Advice and representation for Receivers in relation to applications for possession of property and directions generally in respect of receivership orders
  • Advice and representation for “interested persons” during confiscation proceedings
  • Advice and representation in relation to proceedings brought in the National Crime Agency, the Serious Fraud Office and the Crown Prosecution Service in the High Court for property freezing injunctions and civil recovery orders under Part 5 POCA 2002
  • Advice to prosecutors and financial investigators on investigation powers (production orders, search and seizure warrants)
  • Advice on judicial review proceedings relating to decisions by the Crown Court (production orders, search and seizure warrants) and the Magistrates’ Court (enforcement action)
  • Advise on and the drafting of prosecution and defence Letters of Request to foreign jurisdictions
  • Advice to applicants and respondents in relation to the detention and forfeiture of seized cash
  • Advice and representation in relation to committal proceedings for contempt of Court
  • General advice on money laundering offences and the reporting obligation to the National Crime Agency

Chambers & Partners 2015 says

Lisa Freeman “… knows absolutely everything there is to know about POCA, and she is totally fearless in putting her case forward…She is very easy to work with as an opponent.  She’s very affable, which really makes a difference when you’re getting a deal done.”