5 St Andrew's Hill

POCA Work & Asset Forfeiture Department

All Circuits
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Renowned for its asset recovery and confiscation work, this set shows strong international capabilities. Members represent both prosecuting entities, such as the CPS and SFO, as well as defendants and enforcement receivers. The set was recently instructed by the City of London Police in R (Merida Oil & others) v CCC and City of London Police, regarding the legitimacy of the police's use of certain cash forfeiture powers. A content solicitor notes: "The set offers good barristers who value teamwork. They are proactive, highly intelligent and people who like to muck in and resolve problems."

Client service

"The clerks are organised and helpful." "They are very commercial and responsive."

Strengths

Andrew Bird
Outstanding junior in the fields of asset recovery and police powers, who is an expert on search warrants and production orders. He is experienced in civil recovery cases, including connected judicial reviews, and is highly sought after by government bodies.
"Very knowledgeable, commercial and practical." "When we go to him, we know we have a fount of knowledge we can draw upon."

Recent work: Acted in R (Merida Oil & others) v CCC and City of London Police. The case concerned whether it was legitimate for the police, when seeking to use cash forfeiture powers, to procure the conversion of trading account balances into cheques, and then require their production (via POCA Production Orders) for the purpose of cash seizure.

Strengths

Gary Pons
Handles serious confiscation cases and is an expert on cash forfeiture. He is well versed in domestic and international civil asset recovery mandates.
"In court there is no doubt the judge understands what his position is - he is very good on his feet." "A very approachable person who has the capacity to analyse complicated facts and simplify them."

Recent work: Represented the defendant in a complex confiscation case relating to a multimillion-pound BT fraud. The benefit figure was successfully argued to be £3 million rather than £6 million.

Strengths

James Dennison
Acts for the CPS and the SFO in asset recovery and civil fraud cases. He also advises on confiscation and restraint mandates. Dennison frequently assists clients at the pre-arrest stage or on appeal.
"James is extremely pleasant to deal with: judges like him, clients like him and he is someone who finds pragmatic solutions."

Recent work: Acted for the CPS - Proceeds of Crime Unit in confiscation proceedings following a trial in which the defendants were found guilty of defrauding the NHS. The confiscation and costs orders amounted to £600,000.

Strengths

James Fletcher
Assists the CPS and SFO with asset forfeiture and restraint cases. He regularly advises HMRC and specialist defence bodies on freezing and confiscation orders, and acts in cases concerning enforcement, money laundering and search warrants. He has a good deal of experience of handling appeal cases.

"James is very hard-working, bright and very pragmatic in his approach. He is also good at thinking outside the box."
Recent work: Acted for the Metropolitan Police in a successful cash forfeiture case. The matter concerned an attempt to take money out of the United Kingdom and use it for Islamic terrorist financing.