POCA – Confiscation – Third Party Interests


Since 2003 the CPS and other agencies have been rigorously pursuing Confiscation Proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). These proceedings affect defendants convicted of a criminal offence involving a financial benefit. The purpose is to retrieve any ill-gotten gains made from the offending. Confiscation law is intentionally draconian and, in some cases, very unfair. However, over recent years the balance has slightly shifted as the prosecution and courts have to give more consideration to proportionality and fairness.

In 2015 the law was changed (Section 10A POCA 2002) to allow innocent third parties such as a spouse, family, friends etc to have a direct right to be represented in Confiscation Proceedings. This means that third-party interests can be taken into consideration at a much earlier stage in Confiscation Proceedings. 

Recent Case Law

The recent 2020 case of Forte & Vale considered third party interests and in summary confirmed the following:

  • The court has the discretion to order to what extent a defendant or third party has an interest in a property and only do so if it is appropriate.
  • A third party who has an interest in any property has a reasonable opportunity to make representations to the CPS and Court.  
  • A fair procedure is to be adopted by the courts to enable an accurate determination of any interests. 
  • A third party is entitled to see the prosecution evidence and to give evidence at any hearing.  
  • These are civil proceedings and the party making the assertions against the title or for a larger share/interest in an asset must prove their interest in the relevant property to the civil standard (balance of probabilities). 
  • The Judge is entitled to have regard to the fact that a party who could have contradicted the opposing case (by giving evidence) chose not to do so. 
  • Clear and cogent evidence is essential in such cases.
  • An appeal court is unlikely to allow fresh evidence to be admitted at any appeal, hence the best case should be put forward at the Crown Court stage.

Please read my full article on ‘Poca-Confiscation, Third Party Interests’ which provides more information and how I can assist anyone affected – https://defencelegal.co.uk/poca-confiscation-third-party-interests

How we can help you

If you are facing or affected by confiscation proceedings, whether as a convicted defendant or a third party with an interest in the realisable property, you must seek specialist advice straight away.

Sundeep Soor is an expert in all aspects of POCA law and is currently instructed by numerous third parties. His current set of clients are contesting a combined share in assets worth more than £1m.  He has the experience and expertise to guide you through this complicated process, helping to protect your financial interests.

Please contact Sundeep Soor on 0330 1333676 or email info@defencelegal.co.uk.