Cash searches under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

The following Corporate Crime practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Cash searches under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Introduction to cash seizure powers under POCA 2002
  • Meaning of cash
  • Recoverable property and unlawful conduct
  • Cash searches
  • Relationship with the criminal jurisdiction

Cash searches under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Introduction to cash seizure powers under POCA 2002

Part 5, Chapter 3 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002) covers the recovery of cash in summary proceedings in England and Wales and the associated powers of search, seizure and forfeiture of cash. Despite cash seizure and forfeiture proceedings being heard in the magistrates’ courts, these proceedings are civil in nature rather than criminal. As a consequence of this, it is for the applicants to prove their case to the civil standard of proof—the balance of probabilities—rather than the criminal standard of proof. Also, in contrast with criminal proceedings, the focus of the proceedings is the property itself rather than the culpability of the person holding the property.

Sections 15 and 16 of the Criminal Finances Act 2017 (CFA 2017) created complementary powers under POCA 2002, Pt 5 by inserting Chapters 3A and 3B. POCA 2002, Pt 5, Ch 3A contains civil powers, similar to the existing cash seizure and forfeiture scheme, to enable the forfeiture of items of personal property, like precious metals and jewels, see further, Practice Note: Recovery of listed assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. POCA 2002, Pt 5, Ch 3B provides similar powers in respect of monies held in bank accounts. See further, Practice Note: Account freezing and forfeiture orders under the

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