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P v P [2003] EWHC 2260 (Fam)

Civil Procedure - Solicitors - Barristers - Application for ancillary relief in divorce proceedings - Client and her legal team concerned that matrimonial assets might be criminal property - Sought clarification concerning their obligations under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 - Court gave guidance

24 October 2003

The wife (W) made an application for ancillary relief in divorce proceedings. Based on the financial information provided by the husband (H), W and her legal team became suspicious that part of the matrimonial assets might be criminal property within the meaning of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. W’s legal team were worried that, in acting for W in the litigation and a settlement of the financial dispute, they might offend the s 328 prohibition and might become involved in an arrangement which might facilitate the acquisition, retention, use or control of criminal property by W. They sought to protect themselves and W by invoking the protection of s 328(2)(a) and, on 18 June 2003, wrote to the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS) making disclosure that H’s assets might comprise criminal property. NCIS did not respond. Telephone calls were made to NCIS and an NCIS officer advised that the decision to continue to act was a business decision for the solicitors and that W’s ...

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