The confiscation regime under the Proceeds of Crime Act ('POCA') is a deliberately draconian one. Disputes regularly arise as to the level of a convicted defendant's 'benefit' from criminal conduct and their available assets. The Crown frequently alleges that a defendant has hidden assets or that a third party has received a tainted gift.
Non-compliance with a confiscation order can result in the imposition of a default prison sentence or an attack on assets (including those in the name of a third party). The history of the law has recently been examined in a number of high-profile judgments (perhaps most significantly R v Waya  UKSC 51). Any person facing confiscation proceedings will benefit from advice with lawyers with experience in dealing with such cases.
Often when being sentenced for a serious matter the Confiscation is seen as way off in the distance, and on occasion is not given the appropriate consideration by the trial advocate; figures are agreed without scrutiny as these orders can often be seen as routine or ancillary to the main offence for which you have been convicted. Any proposed benefit figure needs to be carefully scrutinised.
Many clients have told me they didn't' actually understand what the Confiscation process meant, and did not have it explained to them properly.
Confiscation proceedings not only affect you, but often your loved ones too; especially if there are joint assets.
It is possible in some circumstances to obtain Legal Aid for an application for a Certificate of Inadequacy or indeed an appeal in respect of the Confiscation proceedings.
For additional information on the areas we cover, please contact us or call us on 01227 918436 / 0871 915 2468.