Policing and enforcing a freezing order is vital. It can make the difference between recovering your losses and not. Our brilliant team can help ensure you make the most of the freezing order you have obtained.

Freezing orders or freezing injunctions generally place very strict requirements and obligations on a respondent.

Having gone to the time and expense of obtaining a freezing order,  it is vital for the applicant to ensure that the respondent fully complies with the order and does not seek to circumvent it or evade its terms.

By ensuring full compliance with the terms of the freezing order, the applicant stands the best chance of making a full recovery if judgement is ultimately awarded in its favour in the substantive proceedings. There is no point obtaining a freezing order only to have the respondent fail to comply properly due to a lack of policing of its terms by the applicant leading to the requirement to take immediate steps to seek further court orders to remedy the breach by the respondent.

Enforcement options available

Different enforcement options include

1. Contempt of court applications for committal to prison

We refer to our other web pages on contempt of court on this subject.

2. Writ of sequestration

This is a very severe remedy indeed and is most commonly used in family cases to enforce a freezing order. It is rarely used to enforce money judgments. Effectively, sequestrators (akin to receivers) will take control of a respondent’s property until the individual has put right the contempt. Entitlement to any property remains that of the respondent, but it cannot be dealt with until such time as the contempt is remedied.

Similar service provisions (as regards documents) exist to those of ordinary contempt proceedings and the requirements evidentially are similar as well.

If the writ is executed, specific powers are given to high court enforcement officers to enable them to carry out the sequestration by, for example, taking possession of the respondent’s assets or collecting rent from properties. Enforcement is carried out by the high court enforcement officer who takes control of the property until the person in contempt has remedied the breach. Such rules can even be made where there are no assets in the jurisdiction.

3. Bench warrants

The purpose of this is to secure a respondent’s attendance at court. Whilst rarely used, they can be helpful in certain circumstances, especially where a defendant has failed to comply with a passport order or disclosure order. If a bench warrant has been issued, a defendant may be arrested and held in custody until the hearing.

4. Other remedies

It is important that all relevant parties are fully aware of the existence of the freezing order and the potential consequences of assisting a breach.

If an applicant has concerns as regards the disposal of property or assets, they can ensure further compliance by

  • service of the freezing order on third parties (including associates, solicitors or even buyers of goods). Upon notice of the freezing order, that party may be subject to the penal notice and will be likewise deterred from assisting any disposal of assets – for example in the case of a buyer buying a property from the respondent, if s/he receives notice of the freezing order before completion then they will not be protected as a result of an “arm’s length transaction”, as they are now aware that the purpose of the transaction is to deprive the applicant of potential recoveries in breach of an order of court;
  • seeking third party disclosure of information relevant to its investigation where the respondent has not fully cooperated;
  • in the case of property assets, it is often the case that upon obtaining a freezing order this will be registered at the Land Registry and thereafter they will receive notice of any attempt to dispose of or transfer the title.

Please contact one of our friendly expert freezing order solicitors now for your consultation. We can help with any freezing injunction enforcement issues. At Francis Wilks & Jones, we have a dedicated team of freezing order experts ready to take your call. Whatever your question, we can help you. Don’t delay – call us now.

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