Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property

Civil Forfeiture of Criminal Property

Legal Measures for Targeting the Proceeds of Crime

Edited by Simon N.M. Young

In this book, which is the first of its kind, leading experts examine the civil and criminal forfeiture systems in Australia, Canada, China, Ireland, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States. In the fight against organized crime and international money laundering, there is a global trend for countries to enact forfeiture and confiscation laws that are applied through the civil process rather than the traditional criminal justice system. The authors gathered here analyze the appeal these civil forfeiture laws have for governments for their potential to disrupt criminal organizations and for their quantifiable benefits to the state. But without the usual safeguards of the criminal process, civil forfeiture laws are controversial, attracting constitutional challenges, particularly on human rights grounds.

Chapter 6: Civil Asset Forfeiture in Canada

James McKeachie and Jeffrey Simser

Subjects: economics and finance, economic crime and corruption, law - academic, corruption and economic crime, criminal law and justice, finance and banking law, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights


James McKeachie and Jeffrey Simser* A substantial proportion of criminal activity makes money, consumes money or both.1 INTRODUCTION TO CIVIL ASSET FORFEITURE2 Over the past 20 years, there has been considerable attention paid to the relationship between money and unlawful activity, both domestically and internationally.3 Civil asset forfeiture or non-conviction based forfeiture is an important element of this discussion. This chapter canvasses civil asset forfeiture in Canada. The authors of this chapter have been at the forefront of Canadian developments in policy, law and litigation since 2000. The chapter covers the theoretical underpinnings, legislative techniques and practical implications of non-conviction based forfeiture. As Canada develops, one looks to burgeoning jurisprudence in other countries. Wherever possible, relevant cases from the United States (US), Australia, Ireland, South Africa and the United Kingdom (UK) have been included in the footnotes. * The views expressed herein are those of the authors personally and do not represent the views of the government of Ontario or its Ministry of the Attorney General. 1 See Mariano-Florentino Cueller (2003), ‘The Tenuous Relationship Between the Fight Against Money Laundering and the Disruption of Criminal Finance’, J Crim L & Criminology, 93, 311, at p. 323. This 154-page article provides a very interesting critique of the current investigative, prosecutorial and regulatory system designed to interdict international criminal finance. 2 Many people refer to civil forfeiture and civil asset forfeiture interchangeably, we prefer to use the phrase ‘civil asset forfeiture’ because it more accurately describes the forfeiture scheme, namely the in rem nature...

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