Rahman Ravelli
Rahman Ravelli Solicitors Logo
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

About Us Expertise PEOPLE International Legal Articles News Events Contact Us toggle button for phone toggle button for search

Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO)

Unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) enable authorities to take assets from those suspected of wrongdoing. A meticulous, astute response to a UWO will enhance your chances of keeping what is yours.

Building Navigation...

An unexplained wealth order, UWO is the latest weapon available to the authorities that seek to take assets from those they suspect of wrongdoing. If you are a high net worth individual (HNWI), company or trust facing a UWO it is vitally important that you respond carefully and intelligently. Only by doing this can you maximise your chances of keeping what is yours.

Rahman Ravelli has the all-important experience and expertise in this area of law. We are the logical firm to come to for any HNWI or organisation that needs to defend their assets because they are being targeted by a UWO.

As a firm that was the first to take civil recovery cases to the likes of the European Court of Human Rights and the Supreme Court, we have received the highest ranking in national and international legal guides. Chambers and Partners, one of the most prestigious international legal guides, classes Rahman Ravelli as one of a very small, elite band of firms that excel in this challenging area of law. It names our solicitors as being among the very best in the UK in this legal field. Our accolades and award wins are due to our ability to think innovatively and act decisively for clients.

Introduced into UK law in January 2018 by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, a UWO requires an individual or organisation to explain how they came to possess an asset. Failure to provide an explanation considered adequate by the authority that has obtained the UWO will see the asset classed as “recoverable property”. This will lead to efforts to have it taken from them via a civil recovery order issued under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the National Crime Agency (NCA), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are the authorities that can apply to the High Court for a UWO for any assets valued at more than ÂŁ50,000. The NCA is the main agency that handles UWO applications.

When considering the application, a High Court judge must decide whether the person or organisation against whom a UWO is sought is a politically exposed person (PEP) who is not a citizen of the European Economic Area, a person suspected of serious crime here or abroad or someone connected to a person suspected of serious crime here or abroad.

For a UWO application to be successful, a criminal investigation does not have to have been started. A UWO can even be applied for by an authority on a without notice basis, which means that the application is made to the court without those affected by it being notified.

Challenging UWOs

But UWOs can be challenged. The subject of one has to act swiftly and take precisely the right steps in a way and at a time that maximises their chances of a successful challenge.

Rahman Ravelli is a market leader in challenging all types of orders brought against companies and individuals. We act with speed, intelligence and strategy to challenge all assumptions made by the authorities and attack every weakness in any case brought against our clients. Our ability to think outside of the box and tackle the authorities’ claims at every stage has made us the first stop for many HNWIs facing official challenges to their right to own their assets.

Elsewhere on these pages you can read more about UWOs. But what is important to remember is that Rahman Ravelli is a recognised leader in the area of law to which UWOs are the latest addition. That is why we are the very best people to come to if you are facing a UWO.

Specialist Team

Azizur Rahman C 09369 Azizur Rahman
Senior Partner
+44 (0)203 911 9339
Niall Hearty C 07998 Niall Hearty
Partner
+44 (0)203 910 4565
Syedur Rahman C 09551 Syedur Rahman
Partner
+44 (0)203 910 4566
Nicola Sharp C 09983 Nicola Sharp
Partner
+44 (0)203 910 4567
angelika 08780r lores Dr. Angelika Hellweger
Legal Director
+44 (0)203 597 9783
Fran Small Image Profile Page Francesca Cassidy-Taylor
Senior Associate
+44 (0)203 910 4560
mei yen 07940 lores Mei Yen Chang
Associate Solicitor
+44 (0)203 727 5504

Legal Articles

The Economic Crime Act 2022 Explained
Syed Rahman summarises the main points of the government’s attempt to halt the flow of dirty money to the UK.

3 min read - Published May 2022
Politicians failed in an attempt to scrutinise Donald Trump’s Scottish business interests
Aziz Rahman, of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli, outlines why their efforts were never likely to succeed.

< 1 min read - Published Feb 2021
The British Virgin Islands is to create a public register of company ownership
Nicola Sharp of financial crime specialists Rahman Ravelli sees this as a necessary step to improving the Islands’ unfavourable reputation.

1 min read - Published Oct 2020