Defending enforcement proceedings
There has been a recent obvious and noticeable change in the way confiscation orders are enforced, with the Prosecution and Court taking a much more aggressive approach towards them. These days when an order is made, the CPS enforcement unit immediately write to that defendant to ask how the order will be settled and then follow up correspondence is sent.
If an order is not paid, then it is now likely that you will be summoned to appear in the Magistrates Court within 4 weeks of the time to pay. This is the ‘Enforcement Hearing’ and is when the Prosecution will ask that the default sentence is imposed. It is possible to get legal aid for this work and again we are seeing an increase in such cases. Sometimes it will not be the person’s fault that the order has not been paid and if this is the case, we will tell the Court why and ask for the default sentence not to be imposed.
If you do not pay your confiscation order the Prosecution may appoint a receiver. It is important to remember that if you are serving a default sentence, this does not wipe out the debt and if you own a property or other assets, the Prosecution can apply to appoint a receiver to sell the assets on behalf of you.
This is a costly process and was normally reserved to the more substantial orders consisting of lots of assets, but clearly, a policy decision has been made that some money is better than nothing, hence the increasing number of applications. The biggest problem with such applications is that the receiver’s costs are NOT deducted from the monies realised. Therefore, there will still be a substantial debt even if your asset is sold, which will increase over time because of the interest charges. It is possible to contest such applications and we are now working on several such cases.
We will deal with confiscation cases anywhere in England and Wales.
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