On attraction from:  EWCA 1579
This case considerations whether or not the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) permits a variation to a restraint order to cowl affordable authorized bills in respect of civil proceedings based on the identical or comparable allegations or details as these giving rise to the making of the restraint order .
POCA provides the courts the ability to make a restraint order freezing the property of an alleged felony, with the general intention of making certain that the proceeds of crime may be confiscated by the State within the occasion a criminal offense has been dedicated. A variation to a restraint order could also be made to permit an alleged felony to cowl affordable authorized bills besides, as set out in part 41(4) of POCA, the place these authorized bills “relate to an offense” which gave rise to the restraint order . Because of this, alleged criminals can’t search a variation of a restraint order to fulfill the authorized prices of defending in opposition to felony prosecution for the offense that gave rise to the restraint order, or as an example, in proceedings resisting the imposition of the restraint order.
Andrew Luckhurst, a former skilled sportsman, is charged with offenses of fraud and theft regarding his alleged involvement in a Ponzi scheme, and his property are topic to a restraint order underneath POCA. He is because of stand trial in October 2022. Individually, Mr Luckhurst additionally faces civil proceedings introduced by buyers within the alleged Ponzi scheme. Mr Luckhurst utilized for a variation to the restraint order in order that he might pay £3,000 for authorized illustration in respect of the civil proceedings. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) opposed this variation, arguing that part 41(4) doesn’t allow a variation to cowl such authorized bills the place the civil proceedings arose from the identical or comparable details or allegations because the felony offense that gave rise to the restraint orders.
At first occasion, the choose discovered that such a variation was not permitted by part 41(4) because the civil proceedings did “relate to” the offense giving rise to the restraint order. Mr Luckyhurst appealed. The Courtroom of Enchantment disagreed with the choose, discovering that part 41(4) doesn’t forestall the variation requested by Mr Luckhurst. The CPS then appealed to the Supreme Courtroom.
HELD – The Supreme Courtroom unanimously dismissed the attraction.
The Supreme Courtroom discovered that the proper interpretation of part 41(4) of POCA doesn’t forestall a variation of a restraint order to fulfill affordable authorized bills in civil proceedings, even in circumstances the place these civil proceedings come up from the identical or comparable details or allegations because the offense that gave rise to the restraint order.
Lord Burrows units out the proper fashionable strategy to statutory interpretation, which is that the court docket is anxious to determine the which means of the phrases utilized by Parliament, and in so doing, the context and function of the supply or provisions are necessary. On a pure studying of the phrases of their context, authorized bills in civil proceedings don’t “relate to” a felony offense. Any try and hyperlink authorized bills in civil proceedings to a felony offense requires studying into the statute a check which isn’t discovered within the phrases of the statute itself.
The aim behind the related statutory provisions is to steadiness the objective of enabling the confiscation of proceeds of crime with the necessity to make sure that the alleged felony can apply for a variation of the restraint order to fulfill sure kinds of bills. Permitting a variation to cowl affordable authorized bills incurred in relations to civil proceedings doesn’t contradict this coverage. Due to this fact, the pure which means of the phrases within the gentle of their context and function signifies that authorized bills incurred in respect of civil proceedings should not topic to a blanket prohibition, however slightly a variation to a restraint order to cowl such bills is managed by the courts’ discretion in the identical manner as different permissible variations, comparable to dwelling bills.
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