Civil recovery

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Civil recovery is a method in some legal systems for retailer's claims handling agent to recover, in civil proceedings, the value of property (including intellectual property) obtained through unlawful conduct, instead of, or in addition to, criminal proceedings.

United Kingdom[edit]

In the legal systems of the countries of the United Kingdom, civil recovery (also named civil recovery scheme or civil recovery regime) is used by retailers to (a) enable the retailer's claims handling agent to recover, in civil proceedings before the High Court or Court of Session, property which is, or represents, property (including intellectual property) obtained through unlawful conduct, and (b) enable cash which is, or represents, property obtained through unlawful conduct, or which is intended to be used in unlawful conduct, to be forfeited in civil proceedings before a county court or (in Scotland) the sheriff. Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (2002 c. 29 s 240 et seq.).

The Citizen's Advice Bureau advises that in some cases, the process "may constitute ‘deceitful’, ‘unfair’ and ‘improper’ business practice, as defined by the OFT" ([1])

In the case of "A retailer vs Ms B & Ms K" at Oxford County Court on 9th May 2012, the first civil recovery case to proceed to full trial in court, Judge Charles Harris QC ruled that the retailer had "failed to establish that its security staff had been diverted from their ordinary duties, still less that any such diversion would have caused significant disruption to the claimant’s business." The claim was dismissed in its entirety with permission to appeal refused.([2])

United States[edit]

In the United States, civil recovery laws allow store and retailers to prosecute alleged shoplifters in civil court. All 50 states have some form of civil recovery law. In some jurisdictions, both a civil recovery demand and a ticket or arrest for "stealing" is initiated by the retailer.

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