The process of ‘civil recovery’ has come under the spotlight in recent years, particularly as a result of the large amount of work that Citizens Advice have done in highlighting the unscrupulous activities of a number of civil recovery ‘companies’ who seek money from individuals who are alleged to have committed a criminal offence, such as theft/shoplifting, from one of their clients.
Citizens Advice have published a large amount of research into this area, which details (and criticises) the methods employed by these companies, and questions the legal basis on which they have to make the claims that they often do. They have a useful practical guide here.
BBC Watchdog have produced a very useful guide to civil recovery.
If you have any personal experience of being convicted of a criminal offence and then pursued privately for financial recovery by a company or individual, please contact us.
Being chased for payment?
If you get a letter demanding payment for alleged losses, you should take advice. You could contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (www.citizensadvice.org.uk, 08444 111 444), or contact a solicitor. The Law Society website has a searchable database of solicitors in your area (www.lawsociety.org.uk, 020 7242 1222). Obviously, there may well be costs associated with instructing a solicitor to act on your behalf.