Proceeds of crime in civil cases: intersection of civil and criminal proceedings

Work undertaken in relation to Proceeds of Crime may involve either criminal or civil legal assistance.

Proceedings brought against an individual are civil in nature where they concern:

  • Seizure
  • Forfeiture
  • Administration
  • Recovery of assets
  • Freeing from restraint order

These proceedings take place in either the Court of Session or the Sheriff Court.  Initially, you can grant civil advice and assistance and your client may wish to apply for civil legal aid for any court proceedings.

Confiscation Proceedings

If confiscation proceedings are being brought against your client this can be done under any existing grant of criminal legal aid.  The confiscation is treated as part of the sentencing process.

Where solemn and summary criminal legal aid was in place for the trial, the same grant of legal aid remains in force.

Exceptional Status

In cases where the grant of legal aid is subject to fixed fees, an application for exceptional status can be submitted to allow the payment regime to change help cover the additional work required.


If criminal ABWOR had been made available, an increase in authorised expenditure can be submitted. This can only cover any outlays required for these confiscation proceedings, as there is no facility in ABWOR cases for solicitors to be paid more than the disposal fee.

If no summary or solemn criminal legal aid was in place for the trial, then a new application can be submitted for the confiscation proceedings. We will apply the undue hardship and interests of justice tests in solemn criminal legal aid.

If we granted sanction to employ counsel at the original trial, this will not automatically carry over to the confiscation proceedings.  If counsel is required, then a new application needs to be made for this.

Where your client was either not convicted or was never an accused person, advice and assistance may be available to help with the proceedings.  If your client is not financially eligible for advice and assistance they will need to pay privately in respect of the confiscation proceedings.

The usual financial tests apply to these cases as any other cases.  Any funds released by the Crown in civil recovery proceedings are disregarded by us when carrying out the financial assessment.

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