Contributed By Signature Litigation LLP
An applicant may seek an injunction restraining a party from disposing of or dealing with its assets within the jurisdiction (a 'freezing order'). The aim of a freezing order is usually to preserve an appropriate level of the respondent's assets until judgment can be obtained or enforced by a successful applicant. All types of assets can be 'frozen', including bank accounts, shares and land (although perishable items cannot), whether or not they are legally registered in the respondent's name. In determining whether to make a freezing order, the court will consider whether it is just and convenient to do so. In addition, the applicant must show that there are assets to be frozen and that there is a risk that those assets will otherwise be dissipated.
It is well established that the court also has jurisdiction to grant freezing injunctions in respect of overseas assets (a 'worldwide freezing order'). A worldwide freezing order may be sought where it is unlikely that the respondent has sufficient assets within the jurisdiction to meet the value of the applicant's claim. Even after a worldwide freezing order has been granted, the court will generally require that permission be sought before any steps are taken to enforce the order overseas.
The court may also, in certain circumstances, make a freezing order in support of foreign proceedings where it would be expedient to do so (although it will adopt a cautious approach).