Civil contempt proceedings—confiscation of assets (‘writs of sequestration’)
Produced in partnership with Alexander West of Albion Chambers
Last updated on 30/09/2020

The following Dispute Resolution practice note produced in partnership with Alexander West of Albion Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Civil contempt proceedings—confiscation of assets (‘writs of sequestration’)
  • Confiscation of assets—enforcement or contempt?
  • When should confiscation of assets be sought?
  • Making the contempt application
  • The order must include a penal notice
  • Proceeding against companies and corporations
  • Discharging/purging the contempt

Civil contempt proceedings—confiscation of assets (‘writs of sequestration’)

This Practice Note considers the circumstances where a party’s assets can be confiscated (also known as a ‘writ of sequestration’) as a remedy, punishment or coercion as part of contempt proceedings under CPR 81 (also referred to as ‘committal proceedings’). This Practice Note does not address writs of sequestration to enforce a judgment, order or undertaking in a situation where no proceedings for contempt of court are brought—for guidance on this, see Practice Note: Writs of sequestration to enforce a judgment, order or undertaking.

Confiscation of assets—enforcement or contempt?

Note that prior to 1 October 2020, all methods of sequestration (both the ‘contempt’ kind and the ‘enforcement’ kind) were dealt with in CPR 81 but by an amendment to the CPR in force as of 1 October 2020, a decision was made to confine CPR 81 only to contempt proceedings (see consultation: Proposed rule changes relating to contempt of court: redraft of CPR Part 81).

Post-1 October 2020 the terminology ‘writ of sequestration’ is not used in CPR 81, but the principles regarding writs of sequestration remain (in a contempt context), referred to in CPR 81 as ‘confiscation of assets’ (see CPR 81.2, CPR 81.4(2)(p) and CPR 81.9(1)). As explained in the consultation document:

‘Confiscation of assets’ in 81.9(1) embraces the currently used term “sequestration” which is difficult for unrepresented parties to

Related documents:
Key definition:
Sequestration definition
What does Sequestration mean?

The Scottish term for the bankruptcy of an insolvent estate of an individual or partnership. Technically, it is a person's estate which is sequestrated or set aside for the use of his creditors.

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