A property freezing order (PFO) in support of proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act will usually allow, or can be amended to allow, part of the frozen funds to be used to meet legal expenses (and certain other expenses). Although the burden is on the defendant to show that it is just in all the circumstances that the exception should be made, it will not be ordered if the applicant has other sufficient assets not covered by the order that could be used to pay such expenses.

Where there is no specific evidence suggesting that the defendant has other assets, he does not bear the burden of proving that he has no such other assets.

The Court of Appeal explained that the stricter rule applicable in the case of civil freezing orders in proprietary claims arose because, as proprietary claims were limited to a class of assets which had previously been the claimant's possession, it would normally be the case that the defendant did have other assets. The analogy in terms of proof burden between a PFO and a conventional freezing order is probably closer: Serious Organised Crime Agency v Amir Azam [2013] EWCA Civ 970