University of Sussex

File(s) not publicly available

The disruption of crime in Scotland through non-conviction based asset forfeiture

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 01:45 authored by Martin Collins, Colin King
Purpose – Targeting criminal assets plays a key role in tackling crime, yet there is a notable absence of research on the operation and impact of this approach. This article calls for greater engagement between policymakers, practitioners and researchers to address this. Using experiences from Scotland, the article focuses on the use of civil recovery and identifies a number of areas that are in need of further research. This paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach – This article is a collaborative effort by a member of the Scottish Civil Recovery Unit and an academic researcher. The aim was to stimulate debate on the use of civil recovery, its impact, and future research directions. It draws upon two case studies from Scotland to illustrate how civil recovery has operated in practice. Findings – There are important distinctions between the civil recovery regime in Scotland and the regime that applies in other parts of the UK (e.g. the absence of “incentivisation”). There is a need to consider how the impact of civil recovery can be measured, and there is scope for future research in this area. Research limitations/implications – There is a notable absence of empirical research on civil recovery. The hope is that this article will lead to greater engagement between policymakers, practitioners and researchers. There is a need for empirical research on areas such as has civil recovery disrupted criminal activities, what intelligence gains does asset recovery bring, does asset recovery offer value for money, how is “impact” to be measured, etc. Practical implications – As civil recovery increases in popularity as a form of crime control, this article calls for greater empirical research on the operation and impact of the civil process to tackling criminal assets. This is especially important today as the European Union is investigating the possibility of a European model of non-conviction based asset recovery. Originality/value – Discussion of civil recovery under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 tends to focus on England and Wales. This article considers civil recovery from a Scottish perspective.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Money Laundering Control




Emerald Group Publishing Limited





Page range


Department affiliated with

  • Law Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date


Usage metrics

    University of Sussex (Publications)