Book Review: The Proceeds of Crime: Law and Practice of Restraint, Confiscation and Forfeiture

AuthorJustin Cole
Published date01 February 2005
Date01 February 2005
Subject MatterBook Review
Trevor Millington and Mark Sutherland Williams, The
Proceeds Of Crime: Law and Practice of Restraint, Conscation and
Forfeiture (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2003) hbk,
766 pp.; £75
Conscation of assets in criminal proceedings has perhaps been the
subject of more recent legislation than in any other eld, criminal or
otherwise. There is great need for a serious text to guide the practitioner
through the various statutory regimes, as anyone who has had to leaf
through Archbold and its supplements to try to nd the appropriate
regime will conrm. This book fulls that need.
One has some sympathy with the unfortunate prosecutors in R v
Palmer [2002] EWCA Crim 2202, [2003] 1 Cr App R (S) 112, in which a
record conscation order in the sum of over £30 million was overturned
because they had used the wrong form of notice document in a case in
which the conspiracy charged had potentially straddled two different
statutory regimes. It is possible that if they had had access to a text like
this the State would be just that little bit wealthier today.
The book is very clearly structured to deal separately with the three
regimes which currently coexist: the Criminal Justice Act 1988, the
Drug Trafcking Act 1994, and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. It is
most useful to have ready access to all three systems at a time when
there are still offences before the courts which predate the 2002 Act,
which will of course unify conscation. The three regimes are sum-
marised before each one is set out substantively, and this provides a very
helpful overview.
The analysis of the statutory provisions is thorough, and reference to
case law is succinct (and none the worse for that). In an area as
procedural as this one, a more discursive approach to case law may have
been a distraction to the busy practitioner. There are also some very
practical appendices with various specimen orders, and some useful
website addresses.
One minor quibble is the lack of any critical comment. The authors
have a background in prosecuting on behalf of HM Customs and the
book is rather uncritical of the system and some of its harsher effects. For
example, can it really be just for a defendant not to be permitted to have
access to funds towards the fair and reasonable legal expenses of defend-
ing against the restraint proceedings, or the criminal charges which gave
rise to them? In fairness to the authors, they do make it clear that their
book is not intended to make any academic criticism.

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