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New tools to defend against oppressive confiscations

Richard Littler looks at how bringing human rights principles into the Proceeds of Crime Act has changed the way confiscations are calculated

23 April 2013

The Supreme Court's ruling in Waya has radically changed the confiscation landscape. Not only is it a complete U-turn in the way we approach confiscation in cases of mortgage fraud, such as the one in question, it has far reaching implications for all confiscations.

The judgment, handed down on 12 November 2012, has fully introduced the Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA) into Proceeds of Crime Act 1995 (POCA). Interestingly, the HRA was not an issue raised when the case was before the Court of Appeal. Indeed it seemed to be an afterthought in the Supreme Court and is hardly mentioned during earlier deliberations. However, the court eventually seized an opportunity to introduce fairness and proportionality into POCA, which should now be read through HRA glasses.

By a 7-2 majority the Supreme Court held in R v Waya [2012] UKSC 51 that a confiscation order of 1.54m against Nigerian businessman Terry Waya should be reduced to 392,400. His London property worth over 1.5m, wh...

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