Account Freezing Orders (AFOs)

Has your bank account been frozen without notice?

Proceeds of Crime Act -Account Freezing Orders (AFO) are increasingly being used by authorities in the UK. Although bought in to fight financial crime many innocent individuals are being affected by this new legislation. Our specialist lawyer Sundeep Soor has extensive experience of POCA legislation since its inception in 2003. He has successfully assisted many individuals in cash seizure and forfeiture matters since 2003 – those proceedings are identical to the newer account freezing orders. In relation to AFO’s he has successfully recovered in excess of £1/2m for clients since 2020.

This is a power the authorities are likely to use even more during the current Covid crisis. Many fraud linked criminal prosecutions are in an enormous backlog which gives the authorities more impetus and time to concentrate on civil applications.

Free Initial Discussion

We understand that you will want to discuss your circumstances with an expert solicitor, which is why we offer a no-obligation, free initial discussion to see how we can assist you. Please call us on 0330 1333676 or contact Sundeep Soor on


“Sundeep made sure I had a clear and informed understanding of my situation, in a professional but friendly manner. He was very supportive during a challenging time” – Client Testimonial

How can we help you?

  • Providing you with someone who has specialist knowledge of the legislation and can make a quick assessment of chances of recovery and whether and when to change the order for example make an application to set aside the order.
  • We can assist you in making an application to the court for variation for release of some of the money to cover your reasonable living expenses and legal fees.
  • Assist you with preparation of financial information to show provenance and intended use of the funds. Drafting a response to requests for information.
  • Prepare for all applications and Hearings including variation, extension of order, forfeiture.

What is an Account Freezing Order?

Account Freezing and Forfeiture Orders were introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and have given authorities numerous additional powers by amending the Proceeds of Crime Act.

This new legislation has been created to recover ill-gotten gains from criminal activity and authorities are using these orders as an alternative to bringing criminal charges.

If a bank becomes suspicious about the source, activity or intended use of funds within a bank account they are under a duty to submit a suspicious activity report (SAR) and lodge this with the NCA. It is possible that the NCA will request a local economic crime investigation unit or HMRC to consider applying for an Account Freezing Order so that further investigations can be carried out.

The first you will be made aware of the freeze is when you suddenly are no longer able to use your bank account services. The banks are not able to explain the reasons due to “tipping off” offences, so you will be extremely frustrated. You are likely to have lodged a complaint and escalated that to the financial ombudsman which is unlikely to help. At some stage you will be served with an official court order ( AFO) or given notice of such an application. The orders can be applied for without any notice given.

The threshold is identical to that set out for the seizure of cash with a minimum of £1000 and no maximum in order to freeze the account.

It is always worth ensuring that you have correct legal advice before embarking on any path. Finding that there is an order against you can cause an emotional response, but the first urgent order of business is to contact a legal professional and the critical advice you receive will allow a proper response to the authorities.

How will a Freezing Order affect you?

These orders can paralyse businesses and individuals. The impact of such a restriction will be shocking and extremely stressful.Your direct debits and standing orders will be cancelled and the day to day banking facilities such as internet banking, bill payments and cash withdrawals will be suspended.

The initial order can range from three to 12 months or longer and can be extended for up to a maximum of 2 years. Before the expiry of the 2 years, the authority can escalate the matter to the forfeiture stage which can result in a hearing where the court decides whether to forfeit the funds.

You will be asked questions by the relevant agency who may invite you in for a civil interview to ask questions about your assets, income and the specific financial transactions relating to your bank account. Beware that although these proceedings are civil the agency investigating can easily turn the matter into a criminal investigation should further suspicions arise.

How to get in contact

We can assist wherever you are based. For more information and advice, then please call us today for a free initial discussion about your individual circumstances on 0330 1333676 or email


If you would like to speak to our team about your circumstances, please fill in your details and we will get back to you.