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Charter is one of the leading chambers in restraint, forfeiture and confiscation law.  We frequently appear in criminal, civil and cross jurisdictional cases.

Criminal Proceedings

We are ideally placed to advise and appear in an area of law that is regarded as being difficult and draconian. Prosecuting agencies enjoy far-reaching powers to restrain and confiscate money and other assets. The impact of this legislation is often felt by a client from the outset when a criminal investigation starts with the imposition of a restraint order. Charter regularly advises on and appears in applications for variations or discharges of such orders.

We are regularly instructed in significant and complex confiscation proceedings. These frequently demand a multi-disciplinary approach to achieve the best outcome. We work closely with our professional clients and expert accountants to ensure the most effective presentation of our clients’ cases. Our experience in criminal work and in particular our expertise in fraud and financial crime (see Fraud & Corporate Crime) enhances our understanding in this particular area. Where there are subsequent enforcement proceedings in which the court has power to appoint a management receiver to realise the defendant’s assets Charter can represent clients at this stage.

Charter has experience representing third parties (individuals and companies) whose assets are affected by the investigation or prosecution of another but who are not themselves subject to a charge or investigation. This can be a significant concern to corporate clients where they risk being brought into procedings by the acts of a rogue employee.

Recent cases include:

  • R. v. Palmer (‘Goldfinger’ confiscation appeal)
  • R. v. Fury
  • R. v. Mehta
  • R v. Doherty – appeal against determination of particular criminal conduct on the basis of property obtained “in connection with” the offence
  • FSA v Rollins and FSA v McInerney
  • Dover Magistrates’ Court – R v RK (enforcement proceedings)
  • City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court – R v Q (enforcement proceedings)
  • City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court – R v E (enforcement proceedings)

Civil Proceedings

Charter regularly advises on and appears in Part V civil recovery proceedings, particularly where fraud is alleged. We have experience of acting for parties who seek freezing or searching orders to preserve assets pending a final judgment. We are also called upon to assist with the difficult tactical considerations that arise where there are parallel civil and criminal proceedings.

Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 the High Court may make a civil recovery order even where the defendant has not been convicted of any offence. Magistrates’ Courts also have summary powers to order the forfeiture of cash seized by police. The prosecuting authorities may initiate parallel civil proceedings against a defendant so that any civil recovery application and freezing order will continue even if the defendant is acquitted.

Recent cases include:

  • UK v. A Seizure and forfeiture of £500,000 cash under Part V POCA 2002
  • W v. T & CPS Application for a declaration as to equitable entitlement as to property by convicted defendant’s un married partner
  • Re L - Administrative Court – application to increase assets successfully resisted
  • Q v. CPS – Administrative Court – Certificate of inadequacy
  • DB v. SFO – Administrative Court – Certificate of inadequacy
  • NB v. P & CPS – application for a declaration as to sole beneficial interest in property