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Confiscation Order - Extension of time for payment

Amendment of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by The Serious Crime Act 2015

A new section 11(1) of Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) is inserted by section 5 of the Serious Crime Act 2015. Section 5 amends POCA to expressly provide that the full amount payable under a confiscation order must be made on the day the order is made. The court may only grant an extension of the time to pay if it satisfied that the defendant is unable to comply. 

An extension of time to pay will now be limited to circumstances where it is necessary in order to realise funds from a specific asset, for example the sale of a vehicle or house. Accordingly, section 5 makes provision to enable the court to allow different amounts of time (the “specified period”) for payment of different parts of the order.

Under the existing time for payment provisions in POCA, the maximum length of a specified period is six months. Section 5 amends POCA to set the maximum length of specified period at three months. The court may still extend the specified period, but only if the defendant can demonstrate that he or she is unable to pay the amount required despite having made all reasonable efforts to do so. Such an extension would be known as the “extended period”. 

Any application to extend the specified period must be made before that period has expired. The maximum amount of additional time that a defendant may be allowed to pay a confiscation order has also been reduced from twelve months to six months.

Interest on Outstanding Balances

The position on unpaid sums for Confiscation orders is that interest is payable on the unpaid amount of the confiscation order.  If the confiscation order is not paid by the due date, the amount of interest is added to the confiscation order and is treated as if it were part of the order (section 12 POCA). The rate of interest is that specified in section 17 of the Judgments Act 1838 and is currently 8%.  Interest is added to the sum due by operation of law and the Court has no discretion to waive payment (Hansford v Southampton Magistrates Court [2008] EWHC 67 (Admin).

Practical Considerations 

  • Extend time to pay as soon as apparent that the deadline for payment cannot be met. This is made on the day the Confiscation order is made if you cannot pay it in full immediately.
  • Apply to extend the time for payment before the deadline expires.
  • Show and keep evidence of efforts to realise assets. 
  • Market properties asap. 

Contact Glen Henry of Cartwright King for specialised advice in relation to Confiscation Orders or the Proceeds of Crime Act. You can contact the team on 0808 168 5550 or email and we'll call you back.


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