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 7: Assets Recovery under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002: The UK Experience

Angela V.M. Leong

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


Angela V.M. Leong* INTRODUCTION The United Kingdom (UK) government recognised that the profits from serious organised crime were so great that the deterrent effect of even a lengthy imprisonment was insignificant, as the convicted criminals knew that the illicit gains would be available to them on their release. Various confiscation and money laundering provisions were established under the Drug Trafficking Offences Act 1986, the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Drug Trafficking Act 1994. However, these early confiscation regimes had not made a significant impact on criminal assets and there were only few prosecutions and convictions for money laundering offences. As a result, the whole assets recovery system was reviewed in 2000 and policy implications were generated for the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (hereinafter POCA 2002), which created the Assets Recovery Agency (hereinafter ARA) and consolidated the criminal law with regard to money laundering and confiscation. More importantly, POCA 2002 has established the new civil recovery and taxation regimes under which property obtained through unlawful conduct can be recovered without the need for a criminal conviction. This chapter examines the development of confiscation legislation, and discusses their limitations. It also focuses on assessing the laws, policies and operational experiences of the civil recovery and taxation regimes under POCA 2002. CONFISCATION LEGISLATION PRIOR TO POCA 2002 The UK Home Office observed, ‘organised criminal activity is a particular * The views expressed herein are the author’s personally and do not represent the views of the ARA. Some of the analysis in this...

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