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Restraint orders: Reasonable suspicion and reporting

Changes made by the Serious Crime Act are likely to cause more problems than they solve, ?write Rupert Bowers QC and Daniel Godden

15 December 2015

On 1 June 2015 a number of ?provisions took effect as a result of the implementation of the Serious Crime Act 2015 (SCA). One of the most notable changes was that section 11 of the Act amended section 40 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) to adjust the threshold for applying for a restraint order from ‘reasonable cause to believe’ to a ‘reasonable suspicion’ that the suspect has benefited from criminal conduct.

The threshold is notably lower. As was said in ?R (on the application of Eastenders Cash and Carry Plc) v South Western Magistrates’ Court [2011] EWHC 937 (Admin): ‘It is plain that a belief is more than a suspicion and that the need to have reasonable grounds for a belief imposes a higher threshold than the need to have reasonable grounds for a suspicion’.

The term ‘suspicion’ denotes ‘a degree of satisfaction, not amounting to belief, but at ?least extending beyond speculation’.  

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