28 June 2018
David Corker discusses the Criminal Finances Act and UWOs in Commercial Dispute Resolution
In the second half of CDR’s inaugural Summer Business Crime Symposium, delegates heard how the Criminal Finances Act can be put to use, how to manage conjoined civil and criminal proceedings, while learning of the latest trends in cybersecurity and legal technology.
Outlining a new measure introduced by the CFA – unexplained wealth orders (UWOs) – it was said that their wide effect has sometimes courted attention, but they were an effective tool.
Should a respondent fail to comply with a UWO, it will be penalised under the presumption that the property is the proceed of crime.
So far so good? Possibly not, as Corker compared UWOs to civil recovery orders, which were “ultimately a failure”. UWOs, he added, were “symbolic”, rather than an effective tool; they have not led to “an orgy of litigation”.
Asserting that criminal law is broken and in need of an overhaul, Corker pointed to the state having lost faith. However, “so much of criminal prosecution is about appearances”.
For Corker, a significant provision of the CFA was Section 16 on the ‘forfeiture of money held in bank and building society accounts’; it is the most important piece of legislation in this field since the Proceeds of Crime Act – albeit the undergrowth of s16 is “tangled and complex”, he said.
When looking at defending proceedings under s16, he explained: “A credit balance in a bank account is a bundle of rights,” It is far harder to forfeit than, say, cash, because even an account in credit can be tied directly to other accounts with overdraft facilities.
Read the full article in Commercial Dispute Resolution here.