Account Freezing Order Solicitors
If you or your company’s account has been frozen, our Account Freezing Order Solicitors are here to assist you during this difficult period.
At Imran Khan and Partners Solicitors, we have an experienced team of lawyers who regularly advise and are instructed by those who have been made subject to an Account Freezing Order.
Free Initial Telephone Discussion
For a free initial telephone discussion, please call us on 020 7404 3004 or email email@example.com and we'll be in touch shortly. We can help clients wherever you are based across England and Wales.
We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you require urgent assistance, please contact us on our emergency number on 07738 802993.
What is an Account Freezing Order?
An Account Freezing Order (‘AFO’) is an Order made under Section 303Z1 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (‘POCA 2002’) which prohibits the use of your bank or building society account. If an AFO is made against you or your company, it will freeze the account and you will not be able to withdraw any funds or make any payments using the account.
Process and Procedure for making an Account Freezing Order
An application is made to the Magistrates’ Court by an enforcement officer such as a Police Constable or officer at the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’). The balance in the account must exceed £1,000 and only part of the funds held in the account need to be ‘suspicious’.
The application will be successful if there are reasonable grounds to suspect that money held in the account is property either:
Obtained through unlawful conduct (known as “recoverable property”); or
Intended for use in unlawful conduct
As such, the threshold for making an AFO is low in comparison to similar mechanisms available and therefore it is key you seek expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity.
Without Notice Applications - My bank account was frozen without my knowledge
An Order can be made without notice (known as ‘ex parte’) if the Court find that notice of the application would prejudice steps being taken to forfeit the funds. If an AFO was made without your knowledge, please contact us and we can advise you whether this was appropriate in the circumstances.
How will I pay my bills or legal fees?
An exclusion can be made to the Order which permits use of the account for your reasonable living expenses or to carry on your occupation. You can use the account to pay legal fees if such an exclusion has been included in the terms of the order, however this will be heavily monitored by the Court. For example you may have to specify the amount to be released to pay for your legal fees.
My partner’s account has been frozen but the monies belong to me
If you are an innocent third party, it may be possible to make an application to vary the AFO if you are able to evidence your legitimate interest in the funds. Please contact our experienced team for more information.
Variation of an Account Freezing Order – It has been 12 months and I still can’t access my money
Your account can be frozen for up to 2 years under an AFO. The purpose of this period is to enable the authorities an opportunity to investigate the source of the funds namely whether they are from or intended to be used in unlawful conduct as per their suspicions. Our specialist solicitors can advise whether there is any merit in making an application to vary or set aside the AFO. We have successfully made submissions to the authorities resulting in their application to discharge AFO’s concerning circa £500,000.
What happens once the Order expires?
The authority may apply for the sums to be forfeited by way of an Account Forfeiture Order. In order to do so, they must serve a notice of their intention to forfeit the monies and you will have at least 30 days to object to forfeiture. For more information in relation to Account Forfeiture Orders, please contact our specialist PoCA and Financial Crime Department.
How to get in contact
If you need a specialist solicitor who is well versed in Account Freezing Orders, please contact James O’Hara on 077 393 27158, at JamesO@ikpsolicitors.com or call 0207 404 3004.
We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can assist wherever you are based and have offices in central London.