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Frozen assets

Frozen assets

Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 (WA)

The Criminal Property Confiscation Act 2000 (WA) (CPCA) gives the police the power to obtain a freezing notice and the WA Director of Public Prosecutions (the DPP) power to seek orders freezing and confiscating certain property.

The information on this page does not relate to assets that have been frozen and may be confiscated under Commonwealth laws.

If the CPCA applies, property may be frozen or confiscated regardless of whether the confiscation offence was committed in WA or elsewhere, or whether anyone has been charged or convicted of the confiscation offence.

Property may be seized by a police officer, or a freezing notice or order may be issued over property, if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting it is crime-used, crime-derived or it is owned or effectively controlled by a person who is a declared drug trafficker.

Under the CPCA, individuals who have unexplained wealth can be ordered by the courts to show how they got their assets. The DPP only has to prove that there is a difference between a person's lawfully acquired income and their known assets. It is then up to the individual to prove that their assets were lawfully obtained. Any unexplained wealth may be confiscated and forfeited to the State.

How will I know if my property has been frozen?

You do not have to be there in court for the DPP to be successful in obtaining a freezing order, they will often make the application without you knowing about it.

Once the police have obtained a freezing notice or if the DPP have successfully applied to the court for a freezing order they must personally serve the papers on you so that you become aware of it. You or other people (for example, members of your family) might also be served with a freezing notice or a freezing order if you or they have an interest in the property.

If you are given a freezing notice or order you must not deal with the frozen property in any way. For example, you cannot sell it or give it away. If you deal with the property you might be committing a criminal offence.

If you have been served with a freezing notice or order you should seek urgent legal advice. 

After you receive a freezing notice or freezing order

Must complete a statutory declaration within 7 days

If you are served with a freezing notice or order you must complete a statutory declaration setting out:

  • the name of every other party who has an interest in the property (and provide their address if known), or very other party who has an interest in the property (and provide their address if known), or 
  • if you are not aware of any other party then state this in the declaration.

You must provide this statutory declaration to the police (if you received a freezing notice) or the DPP (if you received a freezing order) within 7 days of receiving or becoming aware of the freezing notice or order. If you do not provide a statutory declaration you may be charged with a criminal offence.

File an objection to the freezing notice or order within 28 days

If you want to object to your property being confiscated you need to file an objection at the court noted on your paperwork within 28 days after you received the notice or order (or within any further time allowed by the court).

If you didn’t receive a copy of the notice, the objection to the notice must be filed within 28 days after you become aware that the property had been frozen (that is, the subject of a freezing notice) or within any further time allowed by the court. 

If you fail to object to the freezing notice or freezing order within the time limit your property may be automatically confiscated.

Help with objecting to confiscation - Kit

Legal Aid WA has produced a kit that explains what to do after getting a freezing notice or freezing order and how to object to confiscation. It is a guide only and if you have received a freezing notice or order you should still obtain legal advice about your particular situation.

There are two parts to the kit. Part 1 includes all the information about how to object to a freezing notice or order and describes the forms you will need to complete and file with the court. Part 2 includes the forms themselves, in Word format.  It is important that you use both parts of the kit together:

How do I pay for a lawyer if all of my property is frozen?

Legal aid is usually not available for representation in court for proceedings under the CPCA.

The Supreme Court may release some of your property from a freezing order on condition that it is used for legal expenses only. If you need to make an application to the Court for release of funds contact the Legal Aid WA InfoLine on 1300 650 579 for further information. It is not possible to make such an application where your property is subject to a freezing notice. It is only an option where your property is subject to a freezing order.


Last reviewed: 06/08/2015

Last modified: 6/08/2015 11:09 AM


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.