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Proceeds of Crime Act 2002

Section 40: Conditions for exercise of powers

85.Section 40 sets out the circumstances under which a restraint order, as provided for in the ensuing sections, may be made. A restraint order has the effect of freezing property that may be liable to confiscation following the trial and the making of a confiscation order.

86.Under the earlier confiscation legislation, a restraint or charging order may be made by the High Court where proceedings have been instituted or the defendant is to be charged, or an application in respect of further confiscation proceedings has been made or is to be made (for example, for a reconsideration of the defendant’s benefit). The Act makes three fundamental changes to this scheme.

87.Firstly, the power of the High Court to make a charging order is abolished as unnecessary. Secondly, the venue for restraint orders is changed from the High Court to the Crown Court, in accordance with the general principle in the Act of the Crown Court being the main venue for confiscation proceedings and related proceedings. Thirdly, the point at which a restraint order may be made is brought forward in the Act to any time after an investigation has been started (at present, although a restraint order may be made at the investigative stage, it is only possible to do so where charges are anticipated).

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