Restraint Order applications are becoming more common for prosecuting authorities when they are dealing with investigations that have a financial element. This draconian tactic is used to freeze all assets which the client owns and, in most circumstances, allows only £250 per week to the client to cover their general living costs.
An application should be made to the prosecuting authority to vary the amount afforded to allow for other bills to be paid i.e. mortgage payments, council tax, and other household bills. Currently there is no provision for legal aid funding when making variations or to mount a full challenge against the Restraint Order through the courts. Clients are required to rely on their friends and family to support them financially to cover legal expenses. In some situations, clients may have the benefit of an insurance policy which may cover the legal costs.
Ben Richardson, Managing Director of Richardson Lissack has recently acted for a client at Blackfriars Crown Court along with Paul Ozin QC of 23 Essex Street where an application was made to discharge the Restraint Order on the grounds that the Crown Prosecution Service had failed in their duty of candour. It was also submitted that the Financial Investigator for the Crown had misled the court at the initial Restraint Order hearing. Our application was successful, and our clients bank accounts and assets were unfrozen.
A separate application for costs was made, which was also successful, and our client was able to claim all her legal costs from the Crown Prosecution Service. Please see our clients testimonial below. Please free to contact us if you are currently under restraint and require advice and assistance to challenge the order.