Hitting them where it hurts: The history of development of Civil Recovery powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act

The focus on ‘dirty money’ is now firmly entrenched in policy and law enforcement responses to organised crime, terrorism and corruption. There are regular pronouncements about the threat posed by dirty money; its infiltration into different sectors/markets (such as banking, antiquities, real estate); the role of professional enablers (such as lawyers and accountants) in money laundering or terrorist financing; and the importance of illicit finance in facilitating crime and terrorism. These threats have produced calls for reform of legislative or regulatory frameworks and/or greater law enforcement powers.

There are already detailed rules – at the national and supranational level – governing anti-money laundering, confiscation of assets, and counter terrorist financing. These rules continue to grow in volume and complexity, as recently evidenced in the implementation of the (EU) Fourth Money Laundering Directive and the (UK) Money Laundering Regulations 2017, as well as the (UK) Criminal Finances Act 2017.

This project brings together emerging researchers in the fields of criminal assets, money laundering, terrorist financing, and their legislative, regulatory and policy responses, to offer fresh perspectives on areas including (but not limited to):

  • new or evolving approaches to asset confiscation or countering money laundering/terrorist financing;
  • new understandings of theoretical, conceptual or analytical gaps in relation to ‘dirty money’ and its control;
  • the role of ‘gatekeepers’ or ‘professional enablers’ in money laundering/terrorist financing;
  • infiltration and/or regulation of legitimate sectors and markets, including banking, antiquities, real estate, casinos and gambling
  • novel methods and vulnerabilities such as cryptocurrencies.


Conference (Dirty Money: New Insights and Emergent Issues, Queen Mary University of London, 17th - 18th May 2018) and book (see below).

Publications and outputs

Benson, K., King, C. and Walker, C., Assets, Crimes and the State: Innovation in 21st Century Legal Responses (Routledge, pending).

Project website