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No fairness in cash forfeiture proceedings

In R (on the application of Desmond Campbell) v Bromley Magistrates' Court [2017] EWCA 1161 the Court of Appeal were asked to adjudicate upon the jurisdiction of a Magistrates' Court to entertain questions of lawfulness of conduct in the context of cash forfeiture proceedings.

The Respondent to the application wanted to raise questions about the searches of his property when the cash was originally seized, but the District Judge refused to allow such enquiries. The Court of Appeal agreed with the judge, holding that it could not find (or read) anything into the legislation which permitted a court to do so.

This is another blow in the context of cash forfeiture and detention applications governed by procedural rules apparently without safeguard. Moreover, the costs regime has reverted to a position where costs can only be successfully obtained by a Respondent who can demonstrate unreasonableness on the part of the police. Quite why extraordinary powers of seizure, retention and forfeiture are apparently devoid of scrutiny is a matter which is truly perplexing to those in practice who regularly witness how the police ride roughshod over procedural fairness often switching between statutory regimes in order to do so.

Click here to found out how Brett Wilson solicitors can help you if you are involved in cash detention or forfeiture proceedings.


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Articles are intended as an introduction to the topic and do not constitute legal advice.