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Asset Tracing Services

When facing civil legal action, a defendant may take the unwise decision to hide or dispose of their assets to prevent the claimant from recovering what is owed to them. But the assets are not necessarily gone forever. Our litigation specialists can help claimants trace assets and take legal action to prevent further concealment.

Such cases often arise in debt recovery claims or civil fraud claims. The case may have arisen as a result of the defendant obtaining the assets by misrepresentation and subsequently hiding them; alternatively, a company structure may have been used to prevent claims against the defendant in their personal capacity from being enforced; or perhaps the defendant themselves has absconded, making it difficult to establish whether they own any assets.

Whatever the situation, the claimant has a wide range of options available to them, from obtaining a search order to instructing professional tracing agents.

Saunders Law is a niche litigation practice based in Central London. We specialise in complex and high-value individual and commercial litigation and dispute resolution. We help clients recover debts and misappropriated assets both in the UK and overseas.

For debt recovery claims, we offer a bespoke service for clients seeking repayment of debts exceeding £100,000. In civil fraud cases, our asset recovery services are available for clients seeking in excess of £250,000.

Find out more about our debt recovery services and fraud & asset recovery services.

Speak to our litigation solicitors for asset tracing advice

For expert assistance with asset tracing and recovery, contact Saunders law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how we may be able to help.

Call us on 02076324300 or make an enquiry online.

Our asset tracing expertise

We can provide advice on a wide range of legal strategies to trace assets, including:

  • Making discreet enquiries and conducting investigations
  • Search orders
  • Disclosure orders
  • Orders for questioning
  • Third party disclosure orders
  • Travel restraint orders
  • Instructing tracing agents

We regularly work collaboratively with other professionals, such as international tracing agents and forensic accounts, to trace assets, take recovery action or freeze assets where appropriate, and ultimately aim to secure the best possible result for our client, both in the UK and internationally.

Our Commercial Litigation team is headed by Matthew Purcell, an experienced lawyer who handles a full range of litigation matters.

Matthew is supported by a specialist team who have varied experience in matters involving fraud and disputes over debt. Find out more about Our People.

Asset tracing services and strategies

Information gathering

Our team are highly skilled in undertaking enquiries and investigations to discover as much information about the defendant and their assets as possible. We are conscious of how vital it can be to not to tip off the defendant in such cases due to the risk of further concealment. We ensure that all investigations are undertaken discreetly, minimising the risk of the defendant becoming suspicious.

Such investigations include gathering information from key sources, such as the Land Registry, Companies House, and social media accounts.

Lifting or piercing the corporate veil

The ‘corporate veil’ is a term used to describe the legal separation between a company and its members. Limited companies are generally held to be separate legal entities to the individuals who run them. They can hold their own assets and be held liable for their own debts. However, if a person uses a company structure for the purpose of concealing assets in legal proceedings, the corporate veil may be lifted or pierced to reveal the true facts and allow the claimant to pursue their claim against the responsible individuals.

Search and seizure orders

Claimants in civil cases may have various methods of injunctive relief available to them, including search and seizure orders.

A search and seizure order allows a claimant and their supervising solicitor to enter a defendant’s home or place of work to search for, copy and retrieve information and material, such as confidential information or intellectual property obtained by the defendant as a result of fraud or theft.

As these orders have such serious consequences for the defendant, they are difficult to obtain, requiring specialist legal advice.

Disclosure orders

A disclosure order is another form of injunctive relief that allows a claimant to obtain information about the value and location of assets as well as other information that may assist in their case.

Orders for questioning

Where the claimant already has the benefit of a county court judgment in respect of an unpaid debt, they may seek an order for questioning (also known as an order to obtain information) to compel the defendant to attend court to answer specific questions about their assets and financial resources.

Such orders may be appropriate where the defendant is refusing to repay the outstanding judgment amount and is failing to assist the claimant with their investigations into their ability to repay. The outcome of the proceedings can assist the claimant when deciding whether to take further enforcement action and what type of action to take.

Failure to comply with an order for questioning can be considered contempt of court and could even result in committal proceedings, so it is an effective method of persuading a defendant to comply.

Third party disclosure

If a debtor is not forthcoming with information about the location or value of their assets, third parties can be valuable sources of information. Banks, estate agents, professional consultants and other parties may be able to provide information. Alternatively, the claimant may be able to obtain a disclosure order against a third party to compel them to release information.

Travel restraint orders

In certain cases, a court may be prepared to make a travel restraint order to prevent a defendant from leaving the country in order to conceal assets or avoid legal action.

Instructing tracing agents

Tracing agents are professionals who can be instructed to track down individuals and provide a report on their whereabouts and assets. International tracing agents can also be instructed to locate debtors and assets overseas.

In many cases, tracing agents can also be instructed to act as process servers, allowing claimants to track down defendants and serve legal documents in-person, such as an order to attend court for questioning about their assets.

Tracing agents are able to carry out a range of enquiries, such as credit checks to discover valuable information about what kinds of accounts the defendant holds and what outstanding liabilities they have.

Speak to our litigation solicitors for asset tracing advice

For expert assistance with asset tracing and recovery, contact Saunders law today for a free, no obligation initial discussion of how we may be able to help.

Call us on 020 7632 4300 or make an enquiry online.