Proceeds of Crime Act and asset forfeiture in London Bar
The Proceeds Of Crime Act And Asset Forfeiture section has a particular focus on individual lawyers who specialise in post-conviction litigation. In addition, it includes other asset forfeiture proceedings, unexplained wealth orders, and other criminal finances issues. That said, many barristers are likely to have practices that do not neatly fit within these boxes and so may be ranked in more than one practice area.
'Very strong' set 33 Chancery Lane is 'a leader in POCA proceedings', housing a group of barristers with 'a wealth of experience', according to instructing solicitors. In a prominent highlight for the set, Kennedy Talbot QC is representing the Serious Fraud Office in the Commercial Court regarding the enforcement of a confiscation order worth over £66m against Gerald Smith, who was convicted of fraud in 2006.
6KBW COLLEGE HILL's Jonathan Hall QC represented the National Crime Agency (NCA) in a high-profile asset recovery case against Zamira Hajiyeva, the wife of a former chairman of a state-owned Azerbaijani bank who was convicted of embezzlement; the case marks the first time that the NCA issued an unexplained wealth order (UWO) after it was discovered that she had spent £16m in Harrods in a decade. Additionally, David Perry QC led William Hays in R (Gibson) v Secretary of State for Justice, a Supreme Court case which considered whether part-payments made against a confiscation order would reduce the term of imprisonment in proportion to the original amount of the order, or the original amount with interest.
Carmelite Chambers' members' caseloads include confiscation proceedings, cash forfeiture, and freezing of assets, among other areas. In one significant instruction of note, Charles Bott QC is acting for Gerald Smith in litigation concerning an unpaid confiscation order worth £66m following Smith's conviction for fraud in 2006.
At Three Raymond Buildings, Hugo Keith QC represents Zamira Hajiyeva – the wife of an ex-state banker currently serving a jail sentence for embezzlement in Azerbaijan – who is the recipient of the UK's first unexplained wealth order (UWO), after it was discovered she had spent over £16m in Harrods over a 10-year period.
3 Verulam Buildings has a solid track record representing the National Crime Agency in civil recovery proceedings. Andrew Sutcliffe QC and Anne Jeavons successfully acted for the agency in the case of National Crime Agency v Nuttall, involving the recovery of assets worth £6m, which were found to be the proceeds of a money laundering scheme.
5 St Andrews Hill's team counts confiscation cases as a backbone of its POCA practice. Gary Pons appeared in the Court of Appeal in R v Moss, a case that considered whether a domestic confiscation order could be enforced in an EU member state. The key issues of the case were whether a certificate could be applied to a confiscation order issued before the Criminal Justice and Data Protection (Protocol No. 36) Regulations came into force in 2014, and secondly, whether the asset in question would need to be traceable proceeds of crime. Recommended for confiscation orders in relation to fraud and matrimonial work, Sarah Wood represented the wife of Tom Hayes, the UBS trader convicted of manipulating Libor in 2015, in her section 10A application before Cooke J, while James Fletcher represented Mr Hayes in the appeal against the confiscation of their home by seeking to argue that the joint purchase of the marital home had not been a tainted gift.