Here are some reasons why our clients choose civil litigation in cases of fraud and breach of trust:
- The fraud may give rise to civil remedies but a criminal prosecution may prove more difficult due to difficulty in establishing particular offences.
- Civil proceedings are designed to effect a recovery rather than to punish those who have committed fraud and many of our clients regard this as more reflective of their overall objective.
- Procedures for identifying what has become of the proceeds of the fraud are more readily available at or before the outset of civil proceedings than criminal proceedings.
- In cases of fraud and breach of trust, civil proceedings often enable Claimants to assert “proprietary claims” which make it easier to follow the proceeds of fraud and claim priority to them in the insolvency of anyone who has received them. Legislation also exists to prevent the fraudsters claiming privilege against self incrimination to stop the Claimant discovering what has happened to his money.
- It is generally easier to retrieve the proceeds of fraud from recipients who have received them innocently in civil proceedings than in criminal proceedings.
- It will be generally less problematic to put a halt to civil proceedings as part of a settlement with the fraudster than it will be to end criminal proceedings.
- Procedures exist to freeze assets in this country, in appropriate cases, in support of civil proceedings in any other jurisdiction in the world. Similarly, many other jurisdictions, particularly in the EU, will freeze assets pending the outcome of civil litigation in this country.