5SAH has a long-established tradition of expertise within the areas of asset recovery, civil fraud, and confiscation. The team has top-ranked barristers and specialist clerks who deliver focused outcomes for each case and client. The client may be a prosecutor, a defendant, an interested party, or a victim of unlawful conduct.
5SAH has an expert team of barristers who act for both applicants and respondents and have appeared in many of the leading cases in this fast-developing and niche area of law. The barristers in the team are at the forefront of new UK legislation such as unexplained wealth orders (UWO’s), account freezing orders/ asset forfeiture orders (AFO’s) and also specialise in challenges to investigation orders and warrants under POCA, PACE, The Asset Recovery Action Plan, the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and other legislation. 5SAH barristers have been instructed in some of the first cases involving these orders and lecture on them. They are the experts in this field.
The team are ranked in the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. A number of barristers are also individually ranked in both guides in this specialist field.
'5SAH is a ‘go-to’ chambers for POCA cases'
Legal 500 2020
5SAH has a team of expert barristers with a strong record of dealing with asset recovery, asset reunification and confiscation work. The team has been involved in this area of work for many years; and has since 2002 grown with the ever-expanding fields of work under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
'A highly respected set, well known for its work in domestic and international asset recovery and confiscation work. Its members are a popular choice for prosecuting authorities, enforcement receivers and defendants, and are frequently instructed in high-profile cases with international elements.'
Chambers and Partners 2020
5SAH is also recognised for having combined expertise in family/matrimonial law and confiscation proceedings.
Over recent years, there has been a marked increase in the volume and complexity of cases concerning the forfeiture of assets said to have been derived from crime, in both civil and criminal proceedings. In addition, the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 and associated regulations have made advice in relation to money laundering offences of great importance to professional and lay clients alike.
"The clerks are organised and helpful." "They are very commercial and responsive."
Chambers and Partners 2019
Confiscation is the process which follows conviction in criminal proceedings and by which defendants are deprived of their assets in sums up to the value of their criminal gain. Such proceedings may take place under the Criminal Justice Act 1988, Drug Trafficking Act 1994, or the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Ancillary matters such as Restraint Orders, Disclosure Orders, Receiverships and other enforcement provisions may involve litigation in the High Court, Crown Court, Magistrates’ Court and in some cases, more than one court will have jurisdiction. There may sometimes be conflicting claims from spouses or dependants which need to be resolved. We have acted for victims who seek to intervene in restraint and confiscation proceedings to ensure that their interests are not overlooked or overridden. The barristers of 5 St Andrew’s Hill have the knowledge and experience needed to advise in and handle all types of confiscation law cases.
Civil Recovery encompasses the two forms of the civil recovery process which may lead to the forfeiture of assets from those who may never have been convicted in a criminal court:
Civil Recovery Orders may be sought by the National Crime Agency in the High Court under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Civil recovery proceedings may encompass Property Freezing Orders, Unexplained Wealth Orders, Disclosure Orders and Production Orders.
- Summary Forfeiture proceedings may be brought in the Magistrates’ Court following seizure by Police, Border Force or HM Revenue and Customs of cash under the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 or the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This jurisdiction is now expanded to cover Account Freezing Orders and Account Forfeiture Orders under section 303Z14 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
Condemnation and Restoration
Condemnation proceedings are the civil process whereby seizures of goods by HM Revenue & Customs or Border Force may be challenged in the High Court or Magistrates’ Court under the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. Alternative remedies may also be pursued in the VAT and Duties Tribunal. This procedure most commonly applies where tobacco or alcohol have been seized, but it may also involve endangered species, goods subject to sanctions or export control, and often involves issues of European Law. An associated area is Restoration, where appeals may be made under the Finance Act 2004 to the Tribunal system.
Civil Fraud law may encompass the obtaining or resisting of Freezing Orders (Mareva Injunctions) or Search and Seizure (Anton Piller) Orders in the High Court, through to contested hearings in actions for fraud, infringement of copyright or trademarks. These cases are rarely straightforward. There may well be concurrent criminal and civil proceedings and we can advise and act for victims as well as those accused of crime. Often the victim of crime may obtain a more speedy and effective recovery via civil proceedings than by waiting for the outcome of charging, trial and criminal compensation.
To schedule a consultation about your case, please contact our experienced clerks at 5SAH.
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