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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Seized money

Section 67: Seized money

120.Section 67 provides the magistrates’ court with a new power to order any realisable property in the form of money in a bank or building society account to be paid to the justices’ chief executive in satisfaction of a confiscation order. The power is only available where a confiscation order has been made, time to pay has expired, the confiscation order is being enforced by a justices’ chief executive (i.e. not by the Director) and the money is subject to a restraint order.

121.The new power provides an alternative to garnishee proceedings to enable justices’ chief executives to seize money held by the defendant in a bank or building society account. A garnishee order is an order to a person who owes a debt to one person (the defendant) to pay it to another (the justices’ chief executive). It is usually used to seize money of the defendant’s in a bank account. A garnishee order can only be made by the civil courts (the High Court or a county court). Unlike garnishee orders, the new order will be made by the magistrates’ court.

122.Section 67 also enables justices’ chief executives to confiscate money in the form of cash which has been seized from defendants as evidence and subsequently paid into a bank account. Under earlier legislation, the only legal means of getting at the money without the defendant’s consent is by having a receiver appointed. Subsection (6) enables the magistrates’ court to order a bank or building society which fails to comply with one of the new orders to pay a sum of up to £5,000. It also provides that this sum is to be treated as if it were adjudged to be paid by a conviction of the court. The effect of this is that the fine enforcement powers in Part 3 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 are available to enforce payment of this sum.

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