A business or individual may be the victim of a crime, such as theft, and suffer a financial loss as a result. If the offender is caught and convicted, they may be ordered to pay compensation to the victim under the terms of a civil recovery order.
However, in many cases, the offender is not convicted, or the compensation ordered is not enough to cover the victim’s losses. In these cases, the victim may be able to claim civil recovery from the offender since, under UK law, a person who has committed a crime is liable for any losses they have caused.
What is Civil Recovery?
The term “civil recovery” or “civil asset recovery” refers to an order that can be made to retrieve the suspected proceeds of crime from a guilty party. It works by making the offender pay back any money or assets that they have acquired through criminal activity.
The process of civil recovery is separate from the criminal justice system, and it can be used regardless of whether the offender has been convicted of a crime. It is important to note that civil recovery is not a punishment, and the offender will not receive a criminal record as a result of the order.
How Does Civil Recovery Work in the UK?
In the UK, civil recovery is governed by the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA). This act gives the courts the power to make civil recovery orders against individuals and businesses suspected of acquiring assets through criminal activity.
POCA also establishes the National Crime Agency (NCA) as the lead agency for civil recovery in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. In Scotland, this role is fulfilled by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS).
When making a civil recovery order, the court will consider the following:
- The nature and value of the assets in question
- The connection between the asset and the criminal activity.
- The offender’s benefits from the crime
- Whether the offender has a criminal record
- Whether the offender would be able to pay the amount ordered by the court.
If the court is satisfied that the offender has benefited from criminal activity, they will make a civil recovery order. This order will require the offender to pay back the full value of their ill-gotten gains, plus any interest and costs incurred by the victim.
What Assets Can Be Recovered Under a Civil Recovery Order?
Under a civil recovery order, the court can order the forfeiture of any assets, including any property, money, or other assets that can be converted into cash.
In some cases, the court may also order the forfeiture of assets that are not directly connected to the crime but which have been acquired as a result of the criminal activity. For example, if a person has used the proceeds of crime to buy a house, the court may order the forfeiture of the house even though it is not directly connected to the crime.
You should always take the help of civil recovery solicitors in the UK to help you with civil POCA proceedings.
Who Can Apply for Civil Recovery?
In the UK, any person or business that has been a victim of a crime can apply for civil recovery. This includes victims of fraud, money laundering, and other types of financial crime.
In order to apply for civil recovery, the victim must first report the crime to the police. The police will then investigate the matter, and, if they believe that there is enough evidence to suspect that the offender has benefited from criminal activity, they will refer the case to the NCA or COPFS.
Once the NCA or COPFS has received a referral from the police, they will decide whether or not to launch an investigation. If they believe that there is enough evidence to suspect that the offender has benefited from criminal activity, they will apply for a civil recovery order.
If you have been the victim of a crime, it is important to report it to the police as soon as possible. By doing so, you will ensure that the police have all the information they need to investigate the matter and, if necessary, apply for a civil recovery order.