The Power of the Freezer

March 27, 2018

In a helpful decision for claimants, the UK Supreme Court has confirmed that conspiring to breach a Freezing Order constitutes “unlawful means” for the purposes of the tort of Unlawful Means Conspiracy.

Introduction

A freezing order (formerly known as a Mareva injunction) has been described as one of the nuclear weapons of English litigation, allowing a claimant to freeze the assets of a debtor, pre or post judgment, and requiring that debtor to disclose where those assets are located. Breaching a freezing order can be a contempt of court and lead to the imprisonment of those involved in the breach. But proving contempt of court can be challenging and an order holding a party in contempt may be slim comfort if the debtor’s assets have all disappeared. 

Conspiracy is one of a group of torts commonly known as economic torts and allows a party to recover damages from a group of defendants who have acted in concert to cause that party loss. Conspiracy claims are becoming increasingly popular in commercial fraud cases where multiple wrongdoers may be involved and the primary wrongdoer may have hidden their assets or transferred them to others.

Read 'The Power of the Freezer'