STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU HAVE BEEN SERVED WITH A FREEZING ORDER PART 1
In this series of posts, we examine what steps a person or company must take if they have been served with a Freezing Order / Injunction. In these posts, the person or company seeking the Freezing Order is referred to as the Applicant and the person or company subject to the Freezing Order is referred to as the Respondent.
Seek Legal Advice
It is imperative that a person served with a Freezing Order seeks some form of legal advice Freezing Orders by their very nature are very serious Court Orders and often impose wide ranging restrictions on any individual served with such a form of Order. The sanctions for not complying properly with the terms of the Order can often be very draconian as well (and can involve Orders with criminal sanctions).
By seeking early legal advice, a person putsthemselves in the strongest position possible, particularly with regard to understanding the exact terms of the Order, ensuring that he/she do not fall foul of the terms of the Order and equally, seeing whether he/she can seek to either challenge the Order in its entirety or at least vary some of its terms (including requests to release assets). Anyone served with a Freezing Order should also seek clarity on the potential to recover any costs in the event that he/she is are successful in defending the underlying substantive claim and / or whether any increase in the quantum of any security given and / or any fortification of any security is required (such as a payment into Court being made).
Obtain a Note of the Hearing
If the Freezing Orderwas obtained Without Notice to a person (unsurprisingly known as a without notice application), then it goes without saying that the individual concerned would not have had the opportunity to attend Court at the time the Freezing Order was granted by the Judge.
As such,that person is are entitled to be shown a full note of the hearing which the solicitors acting for the Applicant should have produced from notes they took during the initial hearing. A full note of the hearing should be included in the papers which have been served,but if it is not, then that person must immediately ask for a full note of the hearing as he/she is entitled to understand fully what was said at the hearing and the reasoning behind the granting of the Order.
Consider requesting a full transcript of the Hearing
Whilst the note of the hearing produced by the Applicant’s solicitors is often useful, it is possible to request a full typed transcript of the hearing. Any court hearing of this nature is recorded and, as such, it is possible to ask for that recording to be typed up by a certified transcriber so that the person served with the Freezing Order can have a complete record of what was said at the hearing. This can take some time so it is vital to make this request as soon as possible.Whilst the Applicant’s solicitors will make every attempt to fully explain what was said at the hearing in their note, it goes without saying that it is often impossible to record manually every word spoken at the hearing.
As such, it can be very useful to have a full transcript of the hearing, especially if the person served with the Freezing Order is considering challenging the granting of the Freezing Order when the case next comes back to court.