The UK is experiencing an epidemic of fraud. An estimated £190bn is lost to the crime every year – and its impact is felt by everyone. As well as wiping out savings and devastating businesses, fraud increases the cost of insurance for everyone and erodes trust.
Unfortunately, the UK’s law enforcement agencies are struggling bring fraud down from its current record high levels.
Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, does not have investigative powers and acts only to refer reported frauds to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The NFIB records and collates these reports, but will not investigate them all (many are simply be used for intelligence or for future prevention purposes). Meanwhile, the City of London’s police force – the lead national force on fraud (which also runs the NFIB) – has been widely criticised for failing to get a grip on the problem.
As a result, fraud victims are increasingly turning to the civil courts as a means of recovering lost money and achieving justice. Hickman & Rose represents both claimants and defendants in civil fraud matters.
Fraudulent conduct takes many forms. Many are sophisticated bulk operations such as “boiler room scams” where consumers are induced to buy fake or worthless financial instruments. Rapid technological evolution has led to an exponential increase in cybercrime with ransomware and “phishing” on the increase.
Other fraudulent transactions can occur in the course of business, including misrepresentation in the formation of contracts, large-scale copyright breaches, trading while insolvent or the misstating of profits. The list is almost endless.
A growing perception that the police and CPS are unwilling or unable to take action against fraudsters has led many victims to turn to their lawyers in a bid to recover losses. The civil law offers various routes for resolution. These include:
Each remedy has a different profile in terms of timing, costs, prospects of success and ease of enforcement of a judgment.
Hickman & Rose fields an outstanding team of litigators working in close collaboration with some of the most experienced corporate criminal lawyers. We have a wealth of experience in cross-border crime and maintain close ties with a range of accountants and business intelligence specialists in asset tracking.
There is another side to every picture. Not all defendants owe the sums that are sometimes claimed against them. Some fraud claims have been found to be exaggerated while others may lack any real foundation.
We are ideally placed to advise either party in a civil fraud case. We really have seen both sides, and our service to clients is based on a real understanding of how the other party thinks.