Author: Niall Hearty
22 November 2022
2 min read
The Law Commission has proposed significant changes to the confiscation regime. Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli assesses them.
The Law Commission’s proposals for overhauling the proceeds of crime system are focused on giving courts greater powers to enforce confiscation orders and seize offenders’ assets.
The Commission’s recently-published recommendations are the result of a Home Office-commissioned review. It is now up to the government to consider and respond to the recommendations.
The Commission says its proposals would make the confiscation regime under Part 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 faster, fairer and more effective. It has said the system is currently inefficient and complex, with weak enforcement mechanisms restricting its ability to consistently recover criminal funds.
According to the Commission, adopting its recommendations would strengthen enforcement powers and may result in millions of pounds of additional funds being recovered from offenders each year.
The recommendations are:
The Commission has made it clear that it believes the current confiscation regime is ineffective. It has said an extra £8 million a year could be taken back from criminals if the regime was reformed.
Many legal commentators will agree that the current regime under Part 2 is inefficient and, therefore, not fit for purpose. The Commission’s own claim that the “confiscation regime can be draconian” is one that has been repeated by practitioners for many years now. It can only be hoped that the proposed recommendations will go some way to making the confiscation process fairer and more efficient, after they have been debated in Parliament and a draft bill proposed and enacted.
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