Confiscation Orders

Attorney General written question – answered on 12th July 2021.

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Photo of Lord Browne of Belmont Lord Browne of Belmont DUP

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much debt is outstanding under confiscation orders obtained by the Crown Prosecution Service; and what assessment they have made of how much of the debt is recoverable.

Photo of Lord Stewart of Dirleton Lord Stewart of Dirleton The Advocate-General for Scotland

The responsibility of paying a confiscation order remains with the defendant. Her Majesty’s Court and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) is responsible for the enforcement of all domestic confiscation orders, while the CPS will assist in some enforcement processes – for instance, by requesting mutual legal assistance from overseas jurisdictions in respect of assets located abroad.

As of the end of the last financial year (31 March 2021), the outstanding debt on CPS obtained confiscation orders was £1.3bn (excluding interest). Of these, the CPS is assisting HMCTS on enforcement action in relation to £600m, of which £170m has been assessed as being recoverable. There is no data held by the CPS in relation to the recoverable debt on confiscation orders that are being enforced solely by HMCTS.

The CPS set up a dedicated enforcement unit in their Proceeds of Crime Division in 2018 to specifically address the issue of enforcement. Where the CPS can take money from those who have profited from crime, they will not hesitate to do so. In 2019/20 over £100 million was recovered on CPS confiscation orders, stopping hundreds of criminals benefitting from their ill-gotten gains.

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