What we do

  • Corker Binning is renowned for its expertise in criminal and regulatory litigation with criminal cartel investigations a further forte of the team.

    Chambers UK 2012

  • Andrew Smith is praised for his ‘great mind’ and academic approach. Sources comment that ‘he has a very measured and reassuring way about him, and the quality of his work is fantastic.’ He is also recognised for his strengths in extradition and international crime cases.

    Chambers UK 2015

  • The firm is "very attentive to the needs of the client, very thorough and responsive."

    Chambers HNW 2016

  • Andrew Smith frequently advises on white-collar crime and regulatory issues, including SFO, FCA and HMRC prosecutions. He has notable experience in representing individuals in complex extradition cases.

    Chambers UK 2015

  • "A top-flight firm with the highest standards."

    Chambers UK 2017

  • “Up-and-coming” partner Andrew Smith is singled out as a “star of the future,” who “will ring bells.”

    Chambers UK 2014

  • Regarded as ‘one of the top niche crime firms’, Corker Binning offers a service that is ‘second to none’. The ‘extremely talented’ practice head Robert Brown, who ‘always sees the bigger picture’, acted for a number of clients on the Leveson Inquiry.

    Legal 500 2015

  • [Gemma Tombs is] a “tremendous asset to the firm”. She acts for individuals and companies on criminal and regulatory matters.

    Chambers UK 2010

Restraint orders

A restraint order is the criminal law equivalent to a civil litigation asset freezing order. It can have a worldwide effect. Courts have also been willing to impose additional collateral measures to make them more intrusive, such as compelling the ‘target’ to disclose their financial dealings going back six years and requiring them to transfer cash from an overseas to a UK bank account.

Since 2003 restraint orders can be obtained against a suspect by police or other agencies (including even a private prosecutor) long before sufficient evidence is gathered to justify a charge or prosecution. These orders offer investigators an attractive pre-emptive strike to immobilise the suspect’s everyday business activity, and then allow it to resume only under their careful scrutiny.

Furthermore, whilst such restraint orders are said only to be “protective” in the sense of preserving assets pending a possible post-conviction confiscation order, they can be exploited as a weapon to undermine a suspect’s ability to defend themselves. This can include denying the suspect the ability to spend money on legal advice, so obliging him or her to only have the basic level of representation allowed for under legal aid; and using the information which the order compels the suspect to reveal to enhance the investigation and even undermine the suspect’s right of silence.

Corker Binning has been advising clients who are the subjects of restraint orders, for many years. Our restraint order lawyers are expert in having them either varied to reduce their potency or rescinded altogether because of the investigator’s misconduct. In relation to pre-charge restraint orders, in 2012 we had an order discharged because the SFO were tardy in investigating, and in 2013 because the CPS had misled the court when it applied for an order. In many other instances we had the effect of the orders severely curtailed.

Despite their sometimes draconian effect, these orders are relatively easy to obtain. All too often the targets of them are too intimidated or bewildered to resist. At Corker Binning our restraint order lawyers are able to provide rapid, fearless advice to a client served with such an order.

As the courts have allowed investigators to expand the categories of persons affected by these restraint orders so we have become adept at advising people whose economic interests may be jeopardised. For example, trustees, companies and the families of the person who is the subject of the order. Experience has shown that this type of third party is usually best off asserting their position early on; remaining a bystander can be the worst option.

Increasingly, UK prosecutors are asked by their equivalent in a foreign state for legal assistance in the form of a restraint order against a specific asset situated in the UK. We have advised clients and their lawyers both here and overseas who fear such a request might be made or after such an “external” order has been granted. There are often specific features about this type of order which have enabled us to have them varied substantially in favour of our client.

More

Our restraint orders have recently advised on the following matters:

  • Successfully applying for the discharge of a restraint order in an oral hearing contested by the CPS. The CPS had failed to demonstrate to the appropriate standard that our client, an FCA approved individual, should be the subject of the order.
  • Advising Anne Darwin in the “missing canoeist” fraud prosecution on the restraint order aimed at recouping the insurance monies she had obtained.
  • Negotiating the release of UK property held by a trust fund which the authorities alleged was under the control of the defendant, who was not Corker Binning’s client. Corker Binning persuaded the CPS that the defendant did not in fact have control and that the UK property could not therefore be restrained.
  • Negotiating on behalf of an individual client that no restraint order would be applied for, either pre or post charge, in return for an undertaking that a sum of money equal to the alleged proceeds of crime was preserved for future confiscation.

For more information about how Corker Binning can help, please call 0207 353 6000.

Named as key individuals in the field of Crime by Chambers UK 2017:

chambers-2017
Top_tier_firms

Robert Brown – Star Individual

Jessica Parker – Up and Coming

  • Corker Binning is ranked in Band 1 of recommended firms for Crime by  Chambers 2017.
  • Corker Binning is ranked as a first tier firm for Crime by Legal 500 2016 and Robert Brown is named as a leading individual for Crime.
  • Robert Brown is the only member of a criminal firm to have been ranked in the Top 10 leading lawyers in the Super Lawyers London 2014 Annual List.