Civil recovery orders in SFO cases
Civil recovery orders in SFO cases

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

  • Civil recovery orders in SFO cases
  • Investigatory orders in civil recovery investigations
  • When civil recovery, rather than criminal investigation, might arise in cases involving the SFO
  • Problems with civil recovery proceedings as a substitute for criminal proceedings
  • Advising commercial organisations about self-reporting
  • Serious crime prevention orders

A civil recovery order (CRO) is an order available to recover the proceeds of crime through action in the High Court, rather than the criminal court, and is governed by the CPR. The power to bring proceedings for CROs under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA 2002) is available to the National Crime Agency (NCA), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), HMRC and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in England and Wales, see Practice Note: Civil recovery orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Together, these agencies are known as the enforcement authorities.

No criminal conviction is required and the action is against the property, not the person.

The provisions in POCA 2002 provide for the recovery of property by the enforcement authority where, on the civil standard of proof, it can be established that such property was obtained through unlawful conduct. For information on civil recovery generally, see Practice Note: Civil recovery orders under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

There are associated powers available to preserve property, notably the power the court has to make a property freezing order and interim receiving order. Additional powers exist under POCA 2002, Pt 5, known as investigatory powers, which are exercisable in a civil recovery investigations (see below). Civil recovery investigations are defined in POCA 2002 as an investigation