Freezing Orders

Corporate Crime

Account Freezing Orders and Account Forfeiture Orders are relatively new tools available to authorities following their creation by the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

These changes to the law provide the possibility for property, believed to be obtained via unlawful conduct, to be recovered by using civil proceedings, as opposed to the need to obtain a criminal conviction and then pursue a confiscation order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Account Freezing Orders are made for up to 2 years in the Magistrates Court where the court is satisfied that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the account contains ‘recoverable property’ or is intended for use in unlawful conduct. For an account to contain ‘recoverable property’ it must have been obtained via unlawful conduct. The orders are made without notice and as such it is important to seek legal advice as soon as you become aware that your account has been frozen.

Account Forfeiture Orders are made in the Magistrates Court where the court is satisfied that on the balance of probabilities that money in a bank account is ‘recoverable property’ or intended for use in unlawful conduct. An appeal against such an order must be made to the Crown Court within 30 days, therefore it is vital to act quickly if you have been issued with one.

Our expert lawyers are here to advise and assist you, if your account is subject to either of the orders described above. We will protect your position and make every effort to set aside the freezing of bank accounts to avoid you ultimately losing the funds contained within them.

Our lawyers are available 24/7 to assist you and provide legal advice. Contact London 020 3753 5352 or Manchester 0161 834 7284. Alternatively you can email

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Ben Richardson
Head of Corporate & Financial Crime

020 3753 5352

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