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Proceeds Of Crime Act

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) came into being in 2003. The last eleven years have seen an exponential growth in the use of the Act as prosecutors everywhere have sought to make use of its draconian provisions against defendants.

At Shearman Bowen, we have witnessed a massive increase in prosecutions and especially in confiscation proceedings. We have also seen the increasing use of the Act’s “civil forfeiture” provisions, enabling the State to seize money from those who have never been convicted of a criminal offence.

Shearman Bowen is one of the few firms of solicitors specialising in defending individuals (and others) facing investigation or prosecution under this legislation. Unlike many firms claiming to specialise in this area we never prosecute, and our perspective is first and foremost that of defence lawyers.

Both Rick Shearman and Mark Bowen have substantial experience in confiscation cases going back to the introduction of the UK’s first confiscation legislation in 1986. Both dealt with a number of complex and substantial cases under the previous legislation, particularly the Drug Trafficking Act 1994 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.

In recent years we have built up an  experienced and extremely able team to deal with these increasingly complex cases. We recognise that the provisions of the legislation require a unique approach to defence work; invariably it is necessary to take a pro-active approach, given the need for many clients to prove that their property, income and expenditure is legitimate.

The firm has a policy of dealing with most financial investigations in-house, and has demonstrated time and again that specialist knowledge, sheer hard work and a pro-active approach can pay dividends for clients in mitigating the impact of the State’s draconian powers in confiscation.

In consequence, we have achieved a significant series of favourable outcomes for clients – see our recent cases.