If you find yourself subject to seizure and confiscation proceedings, the consequences for your business can be significant, often resulting in the collapse of customer relationships as the transfer of goods is delayed. In serious cases, criminal prosecutions may follow. The Criminal Defence Solicitors at Wilford Smith have the required skills, knowledge and determination to ruthlessly develop a top-level strategy on your behalf, and have many years experience challenging these applications and helping recover seized goods. Call our specialist Criminal Defence Team today to find out how we can help.
If you are present when the goods are seized, HMRC or Border Force must explain to you the reasons for the seizure. Agents will also provide you with a “seizure information notice”, which will detail a full list of the items that have been seized. If you are not present at the time of the seizure, you will receive a “notice of seizure” by post providing you with a range of information. This will include details on who carried out the seizure and why this has happened, the legal grounds for this being carried out and a full list of seized items.
If you are the owner of the goods and you do not accept that there is a legal basis for their seizure, there are three options open to you:
The Magistrates’ Court in condemnation proceedings makes a decision regarding whether the goods have been legally seized. A decision on whether to restore goods will be made by HMRC or Border Force, and a decision to restore may be accompanied by certain conditions. If you are unhappy with a decision not to restore, or if you object to any restoration conditions, you can request that a more senior officer review the matter. Any subsequent decision can then be appealed to an independent tribunal if you are still unhappy.
Do I need to be represented by a solicitor to challenge the seizure of goods by HMRC or Border Force?
If you are based outside the UK, you will be required to provide HMRC or Border Force with contact details for a solicitor in the UK, as well as the authority for them to act on your behalf if you wish to challenge the seizure of goods. For those living or conducting business from the UK, there is no obligation to instruct a solicitor, but doing so can be vital in ensuring the safe return of your goods.
Negotiating the relevant legal processes and time limits can be complex, while the high value of many goods seized means that successfully challenging a seizure can be of huge importance to a business. If there exists the chance that criminal allegations may arise from the seizure of goods, getting access to legal advice at the earliest stage will give you the best possible chance of conducting a robust defence to any charges made against you.
Contact our Seizure and Confiscation of Goods Solicitors in England and Wales Today
The Criminal Defence Team at Wilford Smith is committed to providing quality advice and representation to ensure the best possible outcome for you in relation to the seizure or confiscation of goods by HMRC or Border Force. When instructing our solicitors, you can be certain you will receive clear, straightforward advice as part of our highly personal service.
Our specialist Criminal Defence Solicitors are based in London, Sheffield and Manchester and serve clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 168 5813 to find out how we can help.