Kingsley Napley Contributes to Significant Law Commission Criminal Justice Reform Project

The Law Commission has today published its long-awaited recommendations for reform of the UK’s post-conviction confiscation regime.

Work on the project began in November 2018, after the Home Office asked the Law Commission to review the regime found in Part 2 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

After carrying out its initial work, the Commission published a consultation paper in September 2020. Kingsley Napley was asked to contribute at an early stage of the project, and was one of only three solicitors’ firms to provide a formal response to the paper. Partner Nicola Finnerty, legal director Gemma Tombs and associate Alfie Cranmer made up the firm’s working group, drawing on their extensive experience in acting for individuals in confiscation proceedings.

The Commission’s 642-page final report on the project sets out a number of important recommendations with the common goal of improving the efficiency and efficacy of the regime, under the updated statutory headline of “depriving defendants of their benefit from criminal conduct, within the limits of their means.” Kingsley Napley’s contributions to the project have featured widely in the report, which contains recommendations aiming to:

  • speed-up confiscation proceedings by establishing strict timetables for hearings;
  • give courts the power to impose so-called contingent enforcement orders along with making a confiscation order;
  • strengthen the restraint order framework, including by codifying the “risk of dissipation” test;
  • strengthen law enforcement agencies’ responses;
  • update the provisions that factor in a defendant’s criminal lifestyle when assessing their benefit from crime;
  • give greater consideration to the defendant’s ability to pay an order; and
  • create more flexible tools for judges when drawing up orders.

The Law Commission’s full and summary reports can be downloaded from this web page. The consultation paper is available by clicking here and you can read Kingsley Napley’s response to the paper here. You can find out more about our white collar and financial crime practice by clicking here.