Freezing Injunction Application: Advice and Guidance

A freezing injunction, also known as a freezing order, is a legal remedy granted by the court as an interim measure. It prohibits a party from disposing of or dealing with its assets in a manner that could hinder the enforcement of a potential judgment. When there is a genuine risk of asset dissipation, the freezing injunction serves to prevent the defendant from dissipating assets that could otherwise be utilised to satisfy a judgment in favour of the claimant.

These injunctions are typically pursued in cases involving fraud, where there is a concern that the defendant may attempt to relocate or conceal assets to evade fulfilling financial obligations such as paying damages.

To secure a freezing injunction, the claimant must demonstrate a strong case on the merits of the underlying claim. The court holds discretionary power to grant such an order and thoroughly assesses the evidence before making a decision.

Upon issuance, a freezing injunction usually applies to all of the defendant’s assets, whether situated within England and Wales or internationally (referred to as a domestic freezing injunction or a worldwide freezing order). The defendant is obliged to adhere to the order’s terms, refraining from disposing of or dealing with their assets beyond specified limits. Non-compliance with a freezing injunction can lead to contempt of court proceedings, potentially resulting in fines or imprisonment.

Freezing injunctions are complex legal measures that require careful preparation and skilled legal representation. If you believe a freezing injunction may be relevant to your situation, then you must act quickly. Our team at Expert Commercial Law can provide you with an experienced and knowledgeable freezing injunction solicitor who specialises in this area of the law.

Freezing Injunction Application Process

Making an application for a freezing injunction is typically done through the court system. A general overview of the application process is as follows:

  • Seek Legal Advice:

Before applying for a freezing injunction, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a solicitor or barrister experienced in the relevant area of law. They can assess the circumstances of your case, advise on the likelihood of success, and guide you through the process.

  • Gather Evidence:

To support your application, you’ll need strong evidence demonstrating that there is a real risk that the defendant will dissipate their assets. This evidence may include financial records, communications, or any other relevant documents that support your claim.

  • Draft an Application Notice:

Your solicitor will help you draft an application notice. This is a formal document that sets out the details of your case, the orders you are seeking (including the freezing injunction), and the legal basis for your application. It should be accompanied by witness statements and other supporting documents.

  • Issue Court Proceedings:

The application notice and supporting documents need to be filed with the court to initiate legal proceedings. The court will then consider the application, and a hearing date will be set.

  • Attend Court Hearing:

Attend the court hearing, where the judge will consider your application. The defendant will also have an opportunity to present their case. It’s essential to be prepared to address any legal arguments and questions from the judge.

  • Court Decision:

The judge will decide whether to grant the freezing injunction based on the evidence and legal arguments presented. If granted, the freezing injunction will specify the assets to be frozen and any other relevant conditions. The court has the power to grant an injunction under section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981.

  • Serve the Order:

Once the freezing injunction is granted, it needs to be served on the defendant. An order is also generally accompanied by a penal notice. The defendant will then be legally bound by the terms of the order.

  • Enforce the Order:

If the defendant breaches the freezing injunction, there are legal remedies available to enforce compliance. This may include contempt of court proceedings.

Freezing injunction requirements

Securing a freezing injunction generally involves meeting specific criteria.

The applicant must demonstrate a strong, arguable case regarding the merits of the underlying claim, indicating a reasonable likelihood of success in the primary legal action. Simultaneously, the applicant must establish a genuine risk that the respondent (the party against whom the freezing injunction is sought) intends to dissipate or dispose of their assets, potentially frustrating the enforcement of a judgment.

The court must be convinced that, without the freezing injunction, there is a risk that any judgment obtained by the applicant would be unenforceable due to the possible relocation or disposal of assets by the respondent.

Full and honest disclosure of all relevant facts, including those unfavourable to the applicant, is the applicant’s responsibility. Failure to do so may result in setting aside the injunction. Additionally, the applicant might be required to provide undertakings to the court, promising to compensate the respondent for any losses incurred if the freezing injunction is later deemed unjust.

The claimant may need to disclose comprehensive information about the respondent’s assets, including bank accounts, property ownership, and other pertinent financial details.

The court will then weigh the balance of convenience, assessing potential harm to the respondent if the freezing injunction is granted against the potential harm to the applicant if the injunction is denied. The decision to grant the freezing injunction must be deemed ‘just and convenient.’

In some instances, a freezing injunction may be sought without notifying the respondent (ex parte). However, even in such cases, the applicant must fulfil the duty of making full disclosure to the court.

It is crucial to recognise that the prerequisites for obtaining a freezing injunction are intricate. Therefore, seeking the guidance of a specialised freezing injunction solicitor is highly recommended to navigate and enhance the prospects of success in your case.

Enforcing a freezing injunction

Enforcing a freezing injunction involves ensuring that the respondent complies with the terms of the court order. If the defendant breaches the freezing injunction, there are legal remedies available to the claimant. Enforcement measures can vary, and the court has the authority to take appropriate action.

If the respondent breaches the freezing injunction, the applicant can initiate contempt of court proceedings. Contempt of court arises when there is a willful disobedience of a court order. If the court finds the respondent in contempt, it can impose penalties, including fines or imprisonment.

The court may also order the seizure of assets that are subject to the freezing injunction. This could involve appointing a receiver or taking other measures to secure and preserve the assets. The court may issue a writ of control or a writ of sequestration, allowing the enforcement officer to seize and sell the respondent’s assets to satisfy the judgment.

In some cases, if the respondent is an individual, the applicant may initiate bankruptcy proceedings. If the respondent is a company, winding-up proceedings may be pursued. These actions can lead to the sale of assets to satisfy the judgment.

If the freezing injunction was granted on an ex parte basis, the applicant may be required to provide cross-undertakings in damages. This means that the applicant has promised to compensate the respondent for any losses suffered as a result of the freezing order if it is later determined that the order should not have been granted.

Why choose Expert Commercial Law?

Our panel of freezing injunction solicitors can assist parties in taking legal action against a defendant who might be at risk of dissipating assets. They can also assist potential defendants in their cases if a claim is brought against them.

Our panel firms provide guidance throughout the freezing injunction application process and can help protect their clients’ rights and interests. They can also help evaluate the strength of the case and advise on the best course of action. If you need help with a freezing injunction order, then please get in touch with us today.

Our solicitors also help with commercial claims, such as partnership disputesfraud claims and CCJ removal.

Please note we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a freezing injunction query or a commercial law case, we will pass your case on to a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing your case to a panel firm.

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Please note, we are not a firm of solicitors; however, we maintain a panel of trusted and regulated legal experts. If you contact us in relation to a commercial law case, we will pass your case onto a panel firm in return for a fee from our panel firms. We will never charge you for passing on your case to a panel firm. 

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