DPP Business Tax

Restraint and Freezing Orders

If you or your company are being investigated under section 40 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (or POCA 2002) in connection with alleged criminal activity, you may have your assets frozen while enquiries are ongoing. This is called a restraint order, or freezing order, and it is put in place to prevent you withdrawing, utilising or concealing funds that may have been the proceeds of crime. Assets that may be frozen include overseas properties and bank accounts.

Any official body with access to sufficient evidence against you can request an application for a freezing order – including the police and private investigators – though they are most commonly brought about by HMRC or the Crown Prosecution Service.

How Can DBT & Partners Help?

DBT & Partners has been operating for more than 30 years. Our specialist POCA solicitors are highly experienced in representing clients who have been unfairly made the subject of a freezing order. We thoroughly understand the implications, and will work hard alongside you to build your case, examining all evidence you present to us and providing you with expert defence in the courtroom.

Matters Related to POCA Restraint Orders

Most commonly, the implications of a restraint order are that the subject may have been involved in:

However, there are numerous other offences that may also see those suspected to be involved served with a restraint order. In order to better fight your corner, whatever the details of your case, the services of expert restraint order solicitors will be extremely valuable.

A Restraint Order under POCA 2002 may be imposed even if the subject has not been arrested or charged.

The results of breaching a restraint order include penalties for contempt of court and perverting the course of justice.

These punishments may extend to two years’ imprisonment, though penalties for perverting the course of justice may, in rare cases, include life in prison.

How to Challenge a Restraint Order

You cannot appeal against the decision of the court to serve a restraint order. However, you may request either a “variation” or “discharge” of the order in question, which may then be accepted or refused. If the request is denied, you may appeal this decision at the Court of Appeal. If this appeal is denied, you may be able to apply to the Supreme Court to then appeal that decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a restraint order?

A restraint order is also known as a freezing order and may be brought about by any official body evidence that the assets in question constitute the proceed of crime. A restraint order under POCA 2002 (the Proceeds of Crime Act) serves to prevent suspected criminals from interacting with any monies or property that are suspected to have been generated by illegal activity.

How long does a restraint order last?

If you have been issued with a restraint order, it’s most likely that your assets will remain frozen until all court proceedings and are complete. If you are found guilty of the criminal behaviour in question, the Restraint Order will remain in place, and Confiscation Order proceedings may begin.

What should I do if I’ve been issued with a restraint order?

Few people are aware of how to challenge a restraint order, but it is possible with help from your restraint order solicitors. You must first request a variation or terms of the freezing order, which may be successful in the first instance. If it is not, you can approach the Court of Appeal regarding the decision. If that fails, you may appeal to the Supreme Court.

It’s important to adhere to the parameters of the order, as if you are accused of breaching a restraint order, penalties may be severe. You may, for example, be charged with perverting the course of justice or contempt of court. Because of this, it’s highly recommended that you contact specialist restraint order solicitors to help you navigate the finer legal points of the order.

DBT & Partners employs highly experienced restraint order solicitors. Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your case with us and see what we can do to assist you.

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