Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) were introduced to facilitate the fight against economic crime. UWOs compel a targeted person to reveal the origin of their assets, if the court suspects the value of the assets to be disproportionate to the person’s known legitimate income. Non- compliance to an UWO results in the presumption that the assets are proceeds of crime and therefore recoverable. The design of this new legal instrument follows an international trend to confiscate criminal assets in rem rather than prosecute criminal conduct in personam. However, such instruments remain controversial. They are intrusive and circumvent procedural safeguards commonly applicable in criminal proceedings. In my paper, I examine if and how UWOs are reconcilable with the right not to self-incriminate. This question is crucial, as UWOs will only serve their purpose if they can withstand likely legal challenges in international courts.
- criminal law
- Criminal procedure