Confiscation and freezing orders (CFOs) are a major means of countering crime. However, EU rates of illicit asset freezing and confiscation remain low. Furthermore, a widespread lack of knowledge and implementation guidance regarding national and European CFO legislation poses a significant barrier to the effectiveness of regulations which seek to address this issue.
FORCE endeavours to improve judicial cooperation in the recovery of illicit assets by investigating practical obstacles to the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2018/1805 on the mutual recognition of confiscation and freezing orders. It also aims to mitigate disparities in training by creating comprehensive resources for legal professionals, policy-makers, scholars and the general public.
The main outcomes of this project will be:
- An online database offering information on national freezing/confiscation procedures
- A Massive Online Open Course and a podcast raising awareness of Regulation 2018/1805
- A set of common practical standards and recommendations
FORCE will conduct a background assessment of the legal systems and practices of a number of member states to identify potential institutional barriers to the application of Regulation (EU) 2018/1805. This will be followed by an examination of the internal rules and soft law instruments of all relevant member states as they pertain to the new reform.
The desk research findings will inform a series of interviews with EU judges, prosecutors, lawyers, attorneys and law enforcement officers involved in CFO administration. These interviews will enable FORCE to understand the experiences and concerns of relevant legal professionals at the national level.
The research will reveal the present impact of the new regulation and the primary obstacles to its implementation. The overall findings will then be used to create publicly available educational content to raise awareness of the reform and bridge international disparities in knowledge and training. FORCE will also develop a set of common practical standards and recommendations, which will be refined using feedback from seminars and focus groups with legal practitioners and then disseminated at the EU level.