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Dispute Resolution analysis: What’s the future for civil claims and remedies involving the proceeds of crime? Elizabeth Wilkinson, legal director in the litigation and dispute resolution group at Pannone Corporate LLP, says the courts are increasingly helping claimants to recover their assets.
Relfo Ltd (in liquidation) v Varsani  EWCA Civ 360,  All ER (D) 59 (Apr)
The liquidator of a company had successfully brought a tracing claim against the defendant in his recovery of money paid by the company. The judge had further found that the defendant had benefited through unjust enrichment. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, upheld the judge’s decision and held that, in order to trace money into substitutes, it was not necessary that the payments should occur in any particular order, let alone chronological order.
Novoship (UK) Ltd v Nikitin  EWCA Civ 908,  All ER (D) 63 (Jul)
The appellants were all involved in bribery with regard to the chartering of cargo vessels. At first instance, they were found to have acted in breach of fiduciary duty. They appealed a number of findings of fact made by the judge, and submitted that the judge had made errors in law concerning the available remedies. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, held that the appeal would be allowed to the extent of the award of profits against the first and third defendants.
The decisions in Relfo and Novoship are some of the most recent decisions in this area. Given they are both Court of Appeal decisions, they are certainly some of the most influential and must be part of the trend, insofar as there is one. The trend seems to be that the courts are increasingly helping claimants to recover their property/money.
In Relfo, the Court of Appeal has made it easier for claimants to recover laundered funds. In order to trace money into su
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