Regina v Rezvi: HL 24 Jan 2002

Having been convicted of theft, a confiscation order had been made against which the appellant appealed. The Court of Appeal certified a question of whether confiscation provisions under the 1988 Act were in breach of the defendant’s human rights. Are applications for confiscation orders criminal proceedings under the Convention, and if so do the assumptions made infringe the right to a fair trial?
Held: European decisions and Philips indicated clearly that confiscation applications are not separate criminal charges, but rather part of the sentencing process. Even if the Convention had been engaged, the provisions are proportionate and would comply. Lord Steyn said that the legislation is ‘a precise, fair and proportionate response to the important need to protect the public’.
Lord Steyn said: ‘It is a notorious fact that professional and habitual criminals frequently take steps to conceal their profits from crime. Effective but fair powers of confiscating the proceeds of crime are therefore essential. The provisions of the 1988 Act are aimed at depriving such offenders of the proceeds of their criminal conduct. Its purposes are to punish convicted offenders, to deter the commission of further offences and to reduce the profits available to fund further criminal enterprises. These objectives reflect not only national but also international policy. The United Kingdom has undertaken, by signing and ratifying treaties agreed under the auspices of the United Nations and the Council of Europe, to take measures necessary to ensure that the profits of those engaged in drug trafficking or other crimes are confiscated: see the United Nations convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (19 December 1988); Council of Europe Convention on Laundering, Search, Seizure and Confiscation of the Proceeds from Crime, Strasbourg, 8 November 1990. These Conventions are in operation and have been ratified by the United Kingdom.’


Lord Slynn of Hadley Lord Browne-Wilkinson Lord Steyn Lord Hope of Craighead Lord Hutton


Times 28-Jan-2002, Gazette 06-Mar-2002, [2002] UKHL 1, [2002] 1 All ER 801, [2003] 1 AC 1099, [2002] UKHRR 374, [2002] 2 Cr App Rep (S) 70, [2002] 2 Cr App R 2, [2002] HRLR 19


House of Lords, Bailii


Criminal Justice Act 1988 Part VI 4, Drug Trafficking Act 1994 72AA, Terrorism Act 2000 Part III, European Convention on Human Rights Art 6


England and Wales


AppliedRegina v Kansal (2) HL 29-Nov-2001
The prosecutor had lead and relied at trial on evidence obtained by compulsory questioning under the 1986 Act.
Held: In doing so the prosecutor was acting to give effect to section 433.
The decision in Lambert to disallow retrospective . .
CitedHer Majesty’s Advocate and Another v Mcintosh PC 5-Feb-2001
(From High Court of Justiciary (Scotland)) The defendant had been convicted of drug trafficking. He complained that the following confiscation order had infringed his human rights being based an assumption of guilt and which was incompatible with . .
CitedPhillips v United Kingdom ECHR 5-Jul-2001
Having been convicted of drug trafficking, an application was made for a confiscation under the 1994 Act. On the civil balance of proof, and applying the assumptions under the Act, an order was made. The applicant claimed that his article 6 rights . .

Cited by:

AppliedRegina v Benjafield, Regina v Leal, Regina v Rezvi, Regina v Milford HL 24-Jan-2002
Statutory provisions which reversed the burden of proof in cases involving drug smuggling and other repeat offenders, allowing confiscation orders to be made were not necessarily in contravention of the article 6 right. However the question of . .
CitedRegina v Deprince CACD 9-Mar-2004
The defendant appealed against a confiscation order made under the drug trafficking legislation. The judge had made a finding that there would be a serious chance of unfairness in the order but had continued nonetheless, by reducing the relative . .
CitedCapewell v Revenue and Customs and Another HL 31-Jan-2007
The defendant appealed against an order regarding the remuneration of a receiver appointed to administer a restraint order placed on the assets of the defendant under the 1988 Act on the basis of an allegation that the defendant had been involved in . .
CitedMay, Regina v HL 14-May-2008
The defendant had been convicted of involvement in a substantial VAT fraud, and made subject to a confiscation order. He was made subject to a confiscation order in respect of the amounts lost to the fraud where he was involved, but argued that the . .
CitedKnaggs v Regina CACD 13-Jul-2009
The defendant appealed against a confiscation order, made on the basis of evidence secured from a probe installed in his car. He had made clear that he disputed the recordings. A second judge had inherited the proceedings, and ruled that he could . .
CitedPeacock, Re SC 22-Feb-2012
The defendant had been convicted of drugs offences, and sentenced under the 1994 Act. The gains he had made exceeded his then assets. Later he acquired further property honestly, and the Court now considered whether those assets could be taken to . .
CitedWaya, Regina v SC 14-Nov-2012
The defendant appealed against confiscation orders made under the 2002 Act. He had bought a flat with a substantial deposit from his own resources, and the balance from a lender. That lender was repaid after he took a replacement loan. He was later . .
CitedVirgin Media Ltd, Regina (on The Application of) v Zinga CACD 24-Jan-2014
Zinga had been convicted of conspiracy to defraud in a private prosecution brought by Virgin Media. After dismissal of the appeal against conviction, Virgin pursued confiscation proceedings. Zinga appealed against refusal of its argument that it was . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Sentencing, Human Rights

Updated: 05 June 2022; Ref: scu.167438