Kirstie Goulder

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Huw Wallis

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Dreaming of a White Christmas, or a Freezing Injunction instead?

Disputes / 19 December 2019

Christmas is very often associated with the same imagery: picturesque snow-covered landscapes, cosy log fires and festive cheer. This week, many people throughout the UK will discuss “will it be a White Christmas this year?”, as bookmakers suggest the latest odds are 6-1 against snow in London this Christmas.

For our Disputes team, however, the imagery and question on everyone’s lips is somewhat different: “when will the Christmas injunction land?” and “who will be spending days leading to Christmas at the Royal Courts of Justice?”

Applications for interim relief (which include freezing injunctions) are very often made in the last few days before Christmas, usually because of pressing urgency for something to be dealt with, or prevented from happening, during the festive season. Sometimes these applications could be actioned for tactical reasons to put businesses and their legal teams under extreme pressure with limited timeframes.

Determining whether a freezing injunction should be made, is a relatively rare occurrence for the Court of Appeal. Remember, a freezing injunction is a ‘prohibitory injunction’ preventing the disposal of assets by the respondent. However, in the last quarter, three distinct cases heard by the Court of Appeal remind us of three important points, which we summarise below:

1. Lakatamia Shipping Co v Moritomo [2019] EWCA Civ 2203 – where the court highlighted the importance of presenting sufficient evidence of risk of dissipation of assets;

2. Vneshprombank v Bedzhamov [2019] EWCA Civ 1992 – this case considered the extent of the exception for ordinary living expenses where a freezing injunction is granted against a very high net worth individual;

3. PJSC Commercial Bank v Kolomoisky [2019] EWCA Civ 1708 – the court emphasized the importance of the applicant’s duty to make full and frank disclosure when applying for a freezing order without notice.

The common theme for all three cases relates to the importance of thoroughly preparing applications, including clear evidence (see our article on this point from earlier this year here.)
Our Disputes team is highly experienced in handling time-pressured injunctions of all types. Many of the injunctions we have worked on have indeed fallen in the days leading up to Christmas for some of the reasons outlined above.

They are on hand to deal with injunction applications or any other urgent matters throughout the Christmas period. We understand these issues are time-critical and often of extremely high value, financially and/or reputationally, to you or your business. Please contact our Head of Disputes, Huw Wallis on the contact details below. Or call our firm’s emergency contact number 07860369004 and we will endeavour to respond as quickly as possible.

On behalf of the Disputes team, we wish you all a wonderful (and hopefully white, but freezing injunction free) Christmas proceedings.

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