DPP Business Tax

Challenging a Restraint Order

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. The specific phraseology can vary greatly. In most cases, this is either called a restraint order or a freezing order. However, it can also be called a freezing injunction.

Regardless of the specific language used, this order is put in place to prevent you from withdrawing, utilising, or concealing funds that may have been acquired through criminal activity. Assets that may be frozen include overseas properties and bank accounts – a process known as a worldwide freezing order.

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 and providing legal advice 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.

Crimes Related to POCA Restraint Orders

Most commonly, a restraint order implies that the subject may have been involved in:

However, numerous other offences may also see those suspected to be involved served with a restraint order. Furthermore, 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.

To better fight your corner, whatever the details of your case, the services of expert restraint order solicitors will be extremely valuable.

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 appeal that decision.

Restraint Orders: 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 proceeds of a 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.

What is the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002?

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, or POCA 2022, was a piece of government legislation issued in 2002. It set out the legal means by which the British Government could confiscate materials and sums of money which had been accrued through criminal activity – as it is fundamentally illegal to profit from criminal activity.

Which Court Issues a Restraint Order?

These types of court orders are normally granted by the Crown Court on behalf of the police, HMRC, or the Crown Prosecution Service.

How long does a restraint order last?

Once the Crown Court has seen it fit to grant a freezing order, it’s most likely that your assets will remain frozen until all court proceedings and criminal investigations 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 a freezing order?

Few people are aware of how to challenge a restraint order. However, it is possible with the help of specialists and experienced 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.

Legal Defence From DBT

For over 30 years, DBT & Partners have provided legal aid in a wide range of areas, including tax law, business litigation, and business investigations. Our highly experienced restraint order solicitors can help you in a wide range of areas related to the POCA – from challenging a restraint order to assembling a good, arguable case for your defence in the event charges are raised against you or your company.

Contact us at your earliest convenience to discuss your case with us and see what we can do to assist you.

Contact Us

24 hours a day,

7 days a week

365 days a year.

+44 207 416 6745

Leave us your details and we will get back to you.