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UK victims

Interactive decision tree

Interactive decision tree

Please use our interactive tool to understand more about the criminal and civil justice systems and how the two systems can interact. It outlines the main steps, and has been specifically created with the individuals and smaller business victim in mind.

Please carefully read about the main differences between the criminal and civil justice systems before using the decision tree.

Criminal: private prosecution

Verdict: Guilty


A guilty verdict will lead to the sentencing process for the defendant. Depending on the circumstances this may happen immediately or after some weeks.

As a victim, you will have a voice in the sentencing process by a Victims Personal Statement. This will explain how the fraud has affected you, whether financially, emotionally, psychologically etc. The statement may be taken from you during the investigation stage or at any point before sentencing.

After sentencing the court will move to consider costs and any compensation. Provided the defendant has the means to pay, the court may make an order for the defendant to pay back to the victim the amount defrauded by the offence (compensation), and pay to the prosecutor the costs expended in bringing the prosecution.

Confiscation proceedings may also be launched. These allow for the use of intrusive powers (such as access to bank accounts etc). The purpose of these proceedings is for the state to deprive the defendant of any benefit they have obtained from their criminal conduct. Only accredited financial investigators may exercise them – so it will be necessary to instruct an accredited investigator at this stage. If the defendant has only sufficient means to pay either money to the victim or to the state, but not to both, then the victim comes first and the compensation order will be satisfied before the confiscation order.