Unexplained Wealth Orders – Finally In Force

02 Feb 2018, 29 mins ago

Gherson have blogged previously on the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders (“UWOs”) to the UK. These draconian new powers were finally brought into force on Wednesday 31 January 2018.

UWOs allow the authorities to freeze and recover the property of individuals worth collectively more than £50,000, without any prior notification, if the relevant authorities assert that the known sources of income of the person would not have been sufficient to lawfully obtain the property.   

UWOs can be imposed on non-EU PEPs (politically exposed persons), anyone connected with non-EU PEPs, any person connected to serious crime or any person connected to a person connected to serious crime.  This includes corporate bodies and natural persons.

If issued with an UWO, any property under the order will be frozen.  The individual or corporation who owns the property will be required to provide a statement confirming how the property was obtained and the nature of their interest in the property. If not provided, the investigator may apply to the court to recover the property as the proceeds of crime. 

For more information on Unexplained Wealth Orders please see our previous article.

Gherson remain extremely concerned by the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders and will be monitoring their implementation carefully. The monetary threshold for imposing an UWO has been lowered from £100,000 when they were first proposed to £50,000 now. This obviously potentially widens the number of people who could find themselves affected by these orders.

Anyone who is concerned about Unexplained Wealth Orders and would like advice should not hesitate to contact a member of our team. We have extensive experience of handling asset forfeiture and confiscation proceedings and have been closely following the passage of Unexplained Wealth Orders into law since they were first announced in 2016.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2018