The International Fraud & Asset Tracing 2023 guide covers 20 jurisdictions. The guide provides the latest legal information on fraud claims, disclosure of assets, shareholders’ claims against fraudulent directors, overseas parties in fraud claims, rules for claiming punitive or exemplary damages and laws to protect banking secrecy.
Last Updated: May 02, 2023
It is with great pleasure that we introduce this latest edition of the Chambers International Fraud & Asset Tracing guide. This publication provides the latest legal know-how in relation to civil law fraud, causes of action, evidence gathering, worldwide freezing injunctions, third-party disclosure, damages principles and enforcement.
Fraud litigation can be a very wide label covering a variety of disputes, but all fraud cases involve a few key areas. Firstly, there is the importance of identifying and securing assets – fraudsters tend to be sophisticated in hiding and moving assets, often through different forms, and without regard for borders (indeed, often deliberately through multiple jurisdictions in order to try to mask their trail). Unless action is taken at an early stage to lock down those assets, there may well not be anything to fight about through litigation. It is no good having a judgment, but no assets to enforce against.
Secondly, there is the issue of identifying the right defendants. In cases where the identity of the wrongdoer is not known, this could mean identifying them through, for example, Norwich Pharmacal orders which require an innocent third party involved in a fraud (such as a bank) to provide documents or information. Although, there is also well-established jurisprudence of bringing claims against unknown persons, that is only useful if you have already secured the assets – otherwise, you are faced with a judgment against an unknown person and therefore no hope of enforcing your judgment. Identifying the right defendants can also mean working out which other parties might be possible defendants: are there individuals or corporates who assisted in the fraud – for example, banks making payments, or accountants involved in a transaction? Might there be arguments that the person who now has the assets holds them on trust for the victim of fraud?
Finally, there is gathering the evidence. That can involve the use of investigators or forensic accountants, but might also mean recourse to the courts – for example, through third-party disclosure orders, potentially in different jurisdictions to the one where the fraud occurred.
It is the job of the fraud litigator to pull all this together, and often to do so across a number of different jurisdictions and in a very compressed timeframe. For this reason, a guide such as this one will be of great value to practitioners in this space.