Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Rules on a Confiscation Order

Monday 06 July, 2020 Written by 
Supreme Court of the United Kingdom Rules on a Confiscation Order

SUPREME COURT - Judgment has been given this morning by the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom via video link in the following cases: 

R v Hilton (Respondent) (Northern Ireland) – UKSC 2018/0075

On appeal from the Court of Appeal Criminal Division (Northern Ireland)

On 22 September 2015 the respondent pleaded guilty to three offences contrary to section 105A Social Security Administration (Northern Ireland) Act 1972. The prosecution sought and was granted a confiscation order. In determining the amount of property owned by the respondent available for confiscation, the court took into account her half share of the matrimonial home, which was jointly owned with her husband. Section 160A (2) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 provides that the court must give any person other than the defendant holding an interest in the property an opportunity to make representations, before exercising the power to determine the extent of the defendant’s interest. The Court of Appeal held that the failure of the court to provide this opportunity to the respondent’s husband rendered the confiscation order invalid.

The issues are:      

1. Where property is held by the defendant and another person, in what circumstances is the court making a confiscation order required by section 160A of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, in determining the available amount, to give that other person a reasonable opportunity to make representations to it at the time the order is made?

2. If section 160A does so require, does a failure to give that other such an opportunity render the confiscation order invalid?

 The Supreme Court unanimously allows the appeal.

 More information is available on the Courts website.

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