There was no doubt that proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 Part 5 were civil proceedings and that conclusion was supported by Strasbourg jurisprudence. The standard of proof to be applied to alleged unlawful conduct was a balance of probabilities and no gloss was to be put on those words. The European Convention on Human Rights 1950 Art.7 did not apply to such proceedings as no penalty was involved. The fact that a respondent had not been prosecuted did not mean that he had been exonerated, and therefore proceedings under the Act were not an abuse of process where there was a good arguable case that there had been unlawful conduct.
QBD (Admin) (Collins J)