Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture

If your cash, goods and/or vehicles have been seized by HM Revenue and Customers (HMRC) or the Border Force under the Excise Management Act 1979, your legal representation is usually at your own expense. It is not eligible for Legal Aid. Condemnation proceedings are a civil matter and will wait until any associated criminal proceedings are completed. So challenging a seizure can take several months.

How we can help

Members of Becket Chambers Criminal Team have extensive experience in this area. We provide advice and representation in all aspects of civil proceedings relating to condemnation and cash forfeiture. We can also advise and represent you where cash or goods have been seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Our expertise

Under the Direct Public Access scheme, our barristers can help in cases relating to:

  • Condemnation cases involving excise goods (tobacco and/or alcohol) and/or vehicles that have been intercepted and seized by the HMRC or the Border Force
  • Cash forfeiture (where cash in your possession has been deemed to be the proceeds of criminal activity, for the purposes of crime, or related to money laundering)

As well as acting for defendants in these cases, we act for the Border Force and HMRC, so we have in-depth knowledge and experience of how these authorities operate. We can provide oral and written advice regarding your situation and the prospective outcome of your case, as well as representing you in court. Many of our barristers have experience of working with clients who need the additional help of an interpreter.

Case Studies

Cash seizure on leaving the UK

Paul represented the Home Office in a case concerning a cash seizure of approximately £40,000 from foreign nationals leaving the UK through Dover Docks. The concealed and undeclared cash was claimed to be the profits of online gambling and/or foreign property transactions. However, the lack of sufficient audit trail or evidence of currency exchange suggested Continue reading

Complex issues around vehicle condemnation

Paul acted for a Polish courier company who had a van and trailer seized because their “groupage” load contained 100,000 cigarettes concealed in copper immersion-heater tanks. The client was clearly being used by a sophisticated smuggling operation (the tanks needed to be X-rayed and taken apart to find and access the cigarettes), but issues were Continue reading

Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture Articles

Condemnation & Cash Forfeiture Testimonials

….Our counsel, Paul Tapsell, was second to none… well done and thanks for all your work on this… great result…

Mrs M from a firm of solicitors instructing Paul Tapsell – February 15