What is Civil Fraud?

Civil fraud is a technical area of the law that can be quite mystifying to those who find themselves involved in it. Fundamentally, it involves making (or defending) an allegation of fraud in the civil courts rather than reporting the fraud to the police and having the criminal justice system take care of the matter.

Some organisations prefer the civil fraud route as they have more control over the proceedings, and the standard of proof is lower in civil law cases. You have to show that fraud was committed on the “balance of probabilities”, where a criminal accusation must be proved “beyond reasonable doubt.”

Different types of civil fraud claims

The tort of deceit is the most common type of civil fraud claim. This occurs when the defendant knowingly made a false representation to induce the claimant to act in some way and, as a result, the claimant suffered a loss.

There are other types of civil fraud, however, and any act that involves some sort of deception could give rise to a civil fraud case, including:

  • Cross-border fraud
  • Unjust enrichment, for instance, the claimant gives money to a partner to invest in a venture but the partner keeps the money for himself instead of investing it
  • Unlawful means conspiracy, where multiple characters play a part in the fraud, such as a shareholder conspiring with a company in which he owns shares
  • Sham trusts

Our approach to civil fraud

Civil frauds are complex disputes and all require a careful approach. Our civil fraud solicitors are experts in both making and challenging civil fraud claims and have a reputation for giving our clients a proactive, strategic response – no matter how complicated the claim, how sophisticated the fraud, or how much money is at stake.

Huge amounts of preparatory work are required before we attempt to reach a settlement or take a case to court. Our team also has extensive experience in pursuing alternative legal strategies such as freezing orders to stop money or assets from being moved before a judgment is made.

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View our Civil Fraud Lawyers:


Jean-Martin Louw


Talk to Jean-Martin about Commercial disputes & Banking & financial disputes


Nichola Leach

Senior Associate

Talk to Nichola about Commercial disputes & Media & Privacy


Peter Pratt

Senior Associate

Talk to Peter about Commercial disputes & Contentious trusts & probate


Robin Henry

Partner - Head of Dispute Resolution Services

Talk to Robin about Banking & financial disputes & Commercial disputes & Corporate recovery, restructuring & insolvency


Roger Billins


Talk to Roger about Commercial disputes


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