The Proceeds of Crime Act and Confiscation Department
We realise the increasing importance of Proceeds of Crime Act and Confiscation proceedings. To this end a specialist dedicated POCA unit has been set up over the last 4 years or so. Confiscation proceedings can be more devastating to the client and family than any substantive criminal matter. That is why it is imperative to have someone who knows what they are doing and specialises in this sort of work. We have successfully conducted many of the largest and most complex confiscation proceedings in recent years.
We are happy to deal with any clients confiscation proceedings, whether we represented you in the substantive proceedings or not. The department has a growing reputation as being the go to experts in this field. We are very aware of the impact of the Criminal Finance Act 2017 and in particular Unexplained Wealth Orders. We are due to start a series of lectures with Nigel Power Q.C. in the new year when it is anticipated the act will come into force. We are also acutely conscious of the impact on 3rd parties to POCA proceedings of The Serious Crime Act 2015.
Third Party Claims can now be resolved when making a confiscation order
S.10A of PoCA introduced by the Serious Crime Act 2015 gives the court power to determine third party claims to the defendant’s assets when making a confiscation order. S.10A(1) provides this power where:
“it appears to a court making a confiscation order that—
(a) there is property held by the defendant that is likely to be realised or otherwise used to satisfy the order, and
(b) a person other than the defendant holds, or may hold, an interest in the property..”
The power is therefore confined to cases where a third party (who s.18Aof PoCA (introduced by s.2(3) of the SCA 2015) calls an “interested person”) may have an interest in property “held by” the defendant, that is where the defendant also has a proprietary interest (see the definition of holding property in s.84). It is not available where the issue is whether a disposition by the defendant of his interest in a piece of property amounts to a tainted gift. According to the explanatory notes to the SCA 2015, para 23, it is envisaged that this power will only be used in “relatively straightforward” cases.
Section10A(2) provides that the court must given an opportunity to the interested person to “make representations”. This is the same term that is found in the receivership provisions to protect third parties (PoCA s.51(8)). It is well established that third parties have full litigation rights including calling evidence [See generally Norris  1 WLR 1388].
Ian Till heads the department with his background and degree in economics and years of experience in the serious crime field. Ian is able to call on the criminal expertise of Lionel Greig, Paul Mullin and Nick Melville. This department needs a civil understanding because of restraint orders, the assumptions in the act and complex law. Dave Frost has many years in civil law and has in recent years transferred this expertise to work on many enormous POCAs, variously prosecuted by the SFO, HMRC and the CPS Complex Crime units.
If it's a negotiated settlement you are after or a contested hearing it matters not. It is the end result in this sphere that matters and that is what the QM POCA team are all about. Nick is heavily involved and from the moment him and his team successfully negotiated a £23 million bank fraud down to a £2,500 settlement , much to the clients satisfaction he was hooked.