Proceeds of crime (POCA) 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.
The 'excellent' 33 Chancery Lane is viewed as a 'go-to set for POCA and asset forfeiture work', with 'great strength in depth' and housing members with 'exceptional expertise'. Of note, Christopher Convey represented Zain Qaiser in confiscation proceedings following Qaiser's conviction for cybercrime and blackmail in 2019; Convey successfully reduced the amount to be repaid from a multimillion-pound figure to £270,000. Strengthening the POCA team in chambers, July 2020 saw John Carl Townsend join from Carmelite Chambers.
6KBW College Hill's members' caseloads include unexplained wealth orders (UWOs), confiscation proceedings, restraint orders and account freezing orders (AFOs). In one example of recent work, Paul Jarvis is acting in R v David and Susan Stansbury, where a husband and wife were convicted of failing to comply with an enforcement notice to tear down an illegally built block of residential flats. The couple had earned over £315,000 in rent payments, which are now subject to confiscation proceedings.
Three Raymond Buildings' members have been kept busy this past year advising on restraint orders, account freezing orders (AFOs), and confiscation proceedings, to name but a few areas. Of particular note, Rachel Barnes represents the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in the ongoing case of R v Saunders, Strubel and Steinberg, concerning contested confiscation proceedings arising from a £78m investment fraud.
3 Verulam Buildings 'is an increasing force in POCA work and asset forfeiture'. The set is well known for its strength in assisting the National Crime Agency (NCA) with civil recovery proceedings, and Andrew Sutcliffe QC has solid experience in assisting the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) with proceeds of crime cases spanning multiple jurisdictions.
The 'excellent' 5 St Andrews Hill houses 'highly regarded barristers for POCA work', according to instructing solicitors. In a recent highlight, James Fletcher acted for the National Crime Agency (NCA) in its first contested account forfeiture orders against three bank accounts, with an aggregate value of £500,000, held in the name of Vlad Filat. The court permitted the forfeiture on finding that the money was derived from Filat's father, the ex-Moldovan prime minister convicted of bribery and corruption offences in 2016 for his role in the disappearance of $1bn from three Moldovan banks. The court also took into consideration the possibility that the funds were derived from money laundering.