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Michael Kent KC and Richard Sage successfully defend £66m claim against HMRC

Mr Justice Collins has delivered his judgment High Court case of Bhandal v HMRC [2015] EWHC 538, in which Michael Kent KC and Richard Sage successfully defended a £66m compensation claim under s.89 Criminal Justice Act 1988.

In 2001 the Claimant was made the subject of an arrest warrant, alleging charges of evading excise duty and VAT, and money laundering. In addition, a world-wide restraint order was obtained in respect of a property known as Updown Court, which was beneficially owned by the Claimant. In 2003 the case against the Claimant was dropped due to concerns about the prospects of securing a conviction.

In 2011, the Claimant brought a claim against HMRC, who had obtained the arrest warrant and restraint order, seeking compensation of c.£66m, said to be the loss he had sustained by the seizure Updown Court. On 11 March 2015, Mr Justice Collins in the High Court dismissed the claim, finding that there had been no serious default on the part of the officers of HMRC, which was necessary to obtain compensation. He also dismissed the claim on the basis that the Claimant was in fact guilty of the criminal conduct alleged against him in 2001, and that Updown Court had been acquired from the proceeds of crime.

The judgment contains useful guidance on the appropriate standard of proof to be applied in compensation claims arising out of failed prosecutions.

The judgment can be found here.

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