FREEZING ORDERS AND THE DUTIES OWED ON EX PARTE APPLICATIONS: NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT CAN BLOW UP IN YOUR FACE

 COOKE -v- VENULUM PROPERTY INVESTMENTS LTD [2013] EWHC 4288

Freezing orders are part of the “nuclear weapons” of civil litigation. As such they should be approached with extreme care.  This case illustrates the dangers involved when a party seeks a freezing order  without notice without a detailed knowledge of the law involved and in circumstances where there is an argument that full disclosure has not been given

THE CASE

This case proceeded in the county court and concerned a disputed right of way; the county court claim was for an injunction and damages for harassment, limited to £15,000.

THE ORIGINAL FREEZING ORDER

The claimants were concerned that title in the property had been transferred. They made an application in the High Court to join a company with a similar name into the action and obtained anex parte order freezing the assets.  This application was made after the trial but before the judge in the county court gave judgment.

The freezing order was effective until the 8th November 2013. The matter was then returned to the High Court on the 14th November and came before Mr Justice Morgan.

DEFECTS WITH THE FREEZING ORDER

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