UKBA & CUSTOMS SEIZURE OF CASH AND FORFEITURE PROCEEDINGS
This is no ban or total prohibition on traveling with large amounts of cash on your person or in your luggage. The law does not intend to prevent individuals and businesses that have access to large amounts of cash from enjoying or moving their cash around.
In law cash is a form of property. This means that right to protection of your property from unjustifiable seizure and confiscation is guaranteed by many laws including international human right law.
However, many clients that we have represented were unaware that the law does require certain disclosures and declarations when cash that amounts to over some specified figures are to be transported.
Notwithstanding these requirements, a person’s failure to declare any amount of money no matter how high does not necessarily justify seizure of your cash/personal property.
Our cash recovery solicitor will explore all legal possibilities so that your seized cash will not be forfeited. When we are successful we can make applications to recover the total legal costs that you have paid to us from the UK Border Agency.
Please, note that pursuing recovery of your legal costs from UK Border Force may involve further legal work. Time limits are very important for recovery of seized cash. If you wish to instruct our firm to apply for recovery you should contact us as soon as possible and within one month of seizure date.
UKBA can retain and forfeit the total amount seized from you regardless of how much it may be.
The main legal issue is the establishment by evidence that your cash/personal property is honestly earned or inherited or gifted money and that the seized amount is not a proceed of crime.
Officers have discretion on whether to seize cash or not. They must follow a prescribed procedure. The officer authorising the seizure must complete the appropriate forms and provide you copies of the forms. He or she must also give you opportunity to explain the reason why you are transporting the cash and the source of the cash.
If the officers do not comply with requirement of the law the seizure of your cash maybe unlawful and your cash must be returned to you.
It is our professional duty to check that all technicalities and legal requirements were properly complied with. If they have been complied with then we can move on to looking at how you can present the evidence we need to recover the cash by proving that it is not a proceed of crime.
The UK Border Agency and HM Revenue & Customs are permitted by law to seize any amount of cash from any person entering or leaving the UK.
However, the same laws clearly provide that your money can be returned to you, if we can explain the source of the money and why it was not declared to the authorities.
You are also permitted by law to make a claim for compensation when it transpires that your cash should not have been seized in the first place because such a seizure is a breach of your property rights and human rights.
When your cash seizure matter is filed at a Magistrate you will receive a notice/summons to appear. This will invite you to explain and provide reasons why the money should not be forfeited.
Forfeiture Proceedings are not a criminal litigation matter and you do not have to worry about a criminal record. If there any criminal proceedings these will have to be brought by way of charges.
A forfeiture summons is not based on a charge. You are nonetheless better off with good legal advice and legal representation in Forfeiture Proceedings.
Officers must tell you at the time of seizure if they suspect that your cash was intended for an unlawful purpose or that it was derived from an unlawful source.
Officers must also tell you about your right to appeal against their decision. They must also inform you if the matter of your cash seizure will be sent to the Magistrates Court for a forfeiture decision.
If any of this information has not been given to you, there is a technical fault upon which we will resist the forfeiture at Court. You have a right to defend any forfeiture proceedings. This includes your right to appoint a solicitor who will attend all court hearings on your behalf.
You can also contact us for advice and legal representation for:
- UK Border Force Seizure of Goods
- Appeals Against Customs Seizure of Goods
- Explanation of Seizure Review Procedures (Senior Officer Reviews)
- Condemnation Proceedings (Magistrates Court)
- Applying for Restoration of Seized Goods
- Claiming Compensation for Wrong Seizure of Goods