New Judgment: Perry & Ors v SOCA; Perry & Ors (No. 2) v SOCA  UKSC 35
25 Wednesday Jul 2012
The Serious Organised Crime Agency sought to deprive Mr Perry (who has been convicted in Israel of a number of fraud offences) and his family of assets obtained in connection with his criminal conduct. None of these persons resided in the UK. SOCA obtained a worldwide freezing order against Mr Perry under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2005, Pt 5, and obtained a disclosure order under which notices requesting information were sent to Mr Perry’s house in London.
The case concerned whether a civil recovery order could only be made in respect of property which was within the territorial jurisdiction of the court making it, and whether a disclosure order could be addressed to persons who were not within the UK.
The Court allowed both appeals. SOCA had made their application pursuant to powers in Pt 5 of POCA, which when read according to its natural meaning, applied only to property within the UK. An international scheme for the recovery of assets was covered by Pts 2, 3 and 4 of POCA. The notices under the disclosure order were given the persons who were, and were known to be by SOCA, outside the jurisdiction of the UK. Compliance with such orders was subject to a penal sanction. It was generally contrary to international law for country A to make criminal conduct in country B committed by persons who are not citizens of country A. It was therefore implicit that the power to impose positive obligations to provide information could only be exercised in respect of persons who were within the UK.