HomeFWJ TakeawayFraud and freezing ordersApplying for a freezing orderWhy might someone seek a freezing order?

Freezing Orders are applied for at court to try and preserve assets and stop them being put beyond the reach of the applicant. However, the rules are strict and expert legal advice is needed to obtain such an order. We can help.

The following are common reasons why a freezing injunction / freezing order may be sought

To assist in the preservation of assets.

Commonly, a claimant will seek a freezing order before proceedings have been issued in order to prevent a defendant from disposing hiding of his / her assets in order to defeat any eventual judgment. However, freezing orders can be sought at any time in proceedings and even after judgment has been obtained in the substantive underlying proceedings.

Freezing orders can also be granted in proprietary claims, i.e. where the applicant is making a claim against a particular asset. The court will apply different principles on the granting of a freezing order over property and we are able to advise on these types of proprietary orders if required.

  • it is important however to understand that freezing orders do not provide security over, or priority for, payment from a defendant’s assets;
  • neither do freezing orders provide security against a possible future judgment or a judgment already obtained.

They are simply there to prevent a defendant from removing or disposing of his assets with the intention or effect of frustrating enforcement of a prospective judgment.

Freezing orders do not give a claimant priority over the defendant’s other creditors generally or in the event of a defendant’s insolvency (as in such circumstances the claimant will have equal rights to other unsecured creditors). Accordingly, a freezing injunction is not the appropriate tool where it appears that the defendant is already indebted to other creditors with potentially larger claims.

However, a bona fide buyer of an asset subject to a freezing order for value, without notice of the freezing order, will gain good title to it. However this can be a contentious matter in itself and the buyer will have to provide evidence it was not connected with the defendant and had no knowledge of the existence of the freezing order.

To assist foreign proceedings

Courts in England & wales may grant freezing orders in order to aid foreign proceedings, pursuant to Section 25 of the Civil Jurisdiction and Judgments Act 1982 (CJJA 1982).

To assist arbitration proceedings

The court’s power in this country to grant freezing orders in the support of arbitration proceedings anywhere in the world derives from Section 44 of the Arbitration Act 1996. This power extends to granting freezing orders to aid enforcement of arbitration awards (as opposed to any pre-award).

Our expert team of freezing injunction solicitors at Francis Wilks & Jones are here to help you with your freezing order enquiry. Our knowledge of freezing injunctions is second to none having dealt with many such claims over the years. We can assist you whether you are a claimant or defendant. 


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