Freezing Orders/Injunctions

A freezing order is an interim injunction which prevents a party from disposing of or dealing with specified assets for an interim period, usually until a judgment is enforced. HMRC, for example, can seek to obtain a freezing order where they do not want assets being disposed of, or moved out of of the jurisdiction. A freezing order can be made in respect of domestic assets, or for assets outside the jurisdiction (a worldwide freezing order).

The High Court has jurisdiction to grant a freezing order pursuant to section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981 (SCA 1981), and procedural rules can be found in CPR 25 and PD 25A. The court will only grant a freezing order where it is just and convenient to do so. The individual courts in England and Wales contain further specific provisions regarding freezing orders.

The ability to seek a freezing order has been the subject of a very long line of cases, establishing that the following conditions for obtaining a domestic freezing order:

  1. The applicant must have a good arguable case;
  2. The assets must exist within the jurisdiction;
  3. There must be a real risk of the assets being hidden, or dissipated.

The court can also grant a worldwide freezing order which, contrary to its name, is limited as it is only effective in certain jurisdictions. It is important to remain compliant with any freezing order, as any breach may be viewed as a contempt of court. If you are considering making an application to vary or discharge the order, it is highly advisable to speak to an expert for guidance on the matter.

Bright Line Law is a barrister law firm led by Jonathan Fisher QC, one of the UK's leading barristers in white collar crime cases, provides specialist advisory, advocacy, litigation, policy and strategic services. If you require specialist advice on a freezing order, contact Jonathan Fisher QC directly at jf@brightlinelaw.co.uk or another member of our team or telephone us on + 44 (0)203 709 9470.

Jonathan Fisher QC
Lead Counsel

Email jf@brightlinelaw.co.uk
Telephone + 020 3872 2852

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