What if my assets are confiscated, but I am not found guilty of any crime?

Managing Principal
Proceeds of Crime & Confiscation Law
19 May 2023

If you are suspected of a proceeds of crime offence, the court has the power to remove access to your assets under a restraining order pending a full investigation. However, it is possible that, following completion of that investigation, the state will have failed to gather sufficient evidence to pursue a forfeiture order against you. In this situation, despite not being found guilty, you may have suffered financial loss as a result of having your assets restricted during the investigation.

Protecting innocent parties

Fortunately, the Confiscation Act affords some protection to those in this situation. Whenever a restraining order is issued, the state must provide an undertaking to the court that they will reimburse a suspect for any damages that may arise from the order should their pursuit of forfeiture ultimately fail. 

This stems from the fundamental concept that the law should not inflict undue hardship on innocent people, and ensures that an innocent party does not suffer from the effects of an unjustly issued restraining order. The principle will not apply if you are ultimately deemed to have committed the illegalities that brought about the restraining order in the first place.

When to seek advice

If you find yourself subject to a restraining order, there are some essential steps that you need to take at an early stage to ensure that you do not suffer unnecessary losses down the track. Madison Branson are experts in this complex area of the law. Managing Principal Simon Tsapepas is a member of the Supreme Court of Victoria Proceeds of Crime & Confiscation List User Group.

For a confidential discussion, contact the Madison Branson Proceeds of Crime & Confiscation Law team today.

The information provided in this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information is for general informational purposes only.

Scroll to Top