Freezing injunctions

What are freezing injunctions?

In certain circumstances, a claimant, who has a very strong case against a defendant, may feel that there is a serious risk that the defendant will dispose of his or her assets before the case proceeds to trial, thereby preventing the claimant, if successful at the trial, from being able to execute judgment, as there may no longer be any assets available which would realise the value of the judgment.

The freezing injunction is a form of interim injunction designed to guard against this, and has the effect of restraining defendants from disposing of, or dissipating, their assets so as to frustrate any judgment which the claimant may obtain against them. Freezing injunctions are also known as ‘Mareva’ injunction, stemming from the decision of the Court of Appeal in Mareva Compania Naviera SA v International Bulk Carriers SA [1980] 1 ALL ER 213. Traditionally it has been said that a freezing injunction can only be granted if the claim is justiciable in England and Wales.

Principles

There are four requirements:

  1. A cause of action justiciable in England and Wales

  2. A good arguable case

  3. The defendant having assets within the jurisdiction;

  4. A real risk that the defendant may dispose of or dissipate those assets before judgment can be enforced.

Good arguable case

The claimant’s affidavit must disclose a good arguable case as regards the merits of the substantive claim against the defendant.

It is usually the case that the claimant has to show that the defendant has some assets within the jurisdiction.

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For more information on:

  • Risk of disposal
  • Discretion
  • Procedure
  • Purpose of the order