Freezing injunctions—worldwide and in support of foreign proceedings
Freezing injunctions—worldwide and in support of foreign proceedings

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Freezing injunctions—worldwide and in support of foreign proceedings
  • Worldwide freezing injunctions or orders (WFOs)
  • Undertakings in WFOs
  • Freezing injunction in support of foreign court proceedings (CJJA 1982, s 25)
  • Freezing order relief to assist with the enforcement of foreign arbitral awards
  • Freezing injunctions in support of arbitration proceedings

Worldwide freezing injunctions or orders (WFOs)

Brexit: The UK's departure from the EU on exit day ie Friday 31 January 2020 has implications for practitioners considering enforcement of worldwide freezing orders (WFOs) in the EU. For insight into the implications of leaving the EU on the enforcement of judgments, which under Regulation EU 1215/2012, Brussels I (recast) includes protective orders such as WFOs, see Cross border considerations—checklist—Enforcement—Brexit specific.

A freezing injunction (or freezing order) will normally extend to assets located within England and Wales only (ie a domestic freezing order). It is only in exceptional circumstances that a court will exercise its discretion to grant an injunction that prevents a defendant from moving and dealing with its assets in any jurisdiction in the world (see, for example, Derby v Weldon). This is known as WFO. A WFO may be granted before judgment (Republic of Haiti v Duvalier) and after or post-judgment (Babanaft International Co SA v Bassatne).

For general guidance on freezing orders, see Practice Notes:

  1. Freezing injunctions—introduction

  2. Freezing injunctions—requirements

The requirements for a WFO

As the court will only grant a WFO in exceptional circumstances, the applicant will have to satisfy the standard requirements for a freezing order and show, for example, that the defendant:

  1. has acted dishonestly or fraudulently on a large scale

  2. has the ability to transfer