Restraint Order Solicitors
Restraint Orders are frequently obtained during the course of a criminal investigation or court case, usually related to serious fraud, money laundering or drug offences. The sole purpose of the restraint order is to freeze an individual's assets, persevering them, so that they may be later confiscated, under a confiscation order, following a criminal conviction.
Restraint Orders are usually made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002). The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 enables the Court in criminal cases to confiscate the proceeds of crime where there is reasonable cause to believe that the alleged offender has benefited from criminal conduct.
If an individual becomes subject to a restraint order, a weekly allowance from your assets would be allowed to allow you to provide for yourself or family. If the allowance is insufficient for basic needs, renegotiation with the court and prosecuting authorities for an allowance increase would take place.
Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) if an individual is convicted of a criminal act, they are required to have confiscation proceedings heard in court with a confiscation order given to prevent the individual from benefiting from any financial proceeds of their crime.
In dealing with confiscation order a court can make a 'criminal lifestyle' assumption. This is quite complex section of the law but section 10 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 provides that the Court can make assumptions about the benefit that the individual has received.
These assumptions aim to calculate the defendant's assets over a six-year period and makes it the defendant's and their solicitors' job to disprove the sum claimed, achieved by showing where declared monies have gone.
If unable to satisfy the original Confiscation Order, by the date set by the Court, the individual will face the prospect of going to prison for the default period set by the original Court. Serving time in prison does not wipe the debt, the Proceeds Of Crime debt will remain regardless of whether the default period is served serve or not.
An application to the court can be made to vary or discharge the original Confiscation Order, this is known as a "Certificate of Inadequacy". This may happen when the confiscated assets, when sold, do not amount to the sum determined at the confiscation original hearing.
Restraint order can be made by a Crown Court (which is criminal court) where there is a criminal investigation against the person who holds property believed to be derived from criminal conduct.
A Freezing order is made by a Civil Court against the property of a person who is, generally, not under investigation for a criminal offence but who holds property derived from someone else’s criminal conduct.
Read more about freezing orders here
MJP solicitors provide advice and representation on all restraint order and proceeds of crime matters throughout England and Wales particularly in Liverpool (including The Wirral), London and the North West.
If you are facing restraint order or confiscation order proceedings during or following a criminal investigation/conviction, the earlier you seek legal advice the better the outcome of the proceedings. Specialist advice for any restraint order / proceeds of crime matter can be given by one of our experienced solicitors.
For free advice call now on 0333 011 0515 or use the contact us page.