Threatened with a Freezing Injunction

Top Tips

  • Don’t panic. Don’t bury your head in the sand.
  • Seek urgent legal advice – contact us
  • Assess and monitor the threat
  • Pick your battles

Don't Panic

If you’re threatened with a freezing injunction whether through a solicitor’s letter of claim or otherwise, it’s important not to panic, although it’s equally important not to bury your head in the sand. There may be grounds for resisting any application to court for the injunction and, although any threat of a freezing injunction should be taken seriously, it could prove to be an empty threat or pressure tactic. You may have a small window of opportunity to take action to protect your position which could range from drafting a letter of response to making an offer of settlement.

Seek urgent legal advice

This may sound like an advertisement; however, it is generally a good idea to contact us or another specialist firm of solicitors as soon as you receive the threat of an application for a freezing injunction. We can map out a strategy for how to best deal with the threat and to ensure that the necessary urgent steps are taken to protect your position.

Whilst each case is different, the usual primary objectives for a person facing a threatened application for an injunction are:-

  1. To prevent your opponent issuing proceedings against you and/or making an application for the injunction; or, if not
  2. To minimise the risk, harm and potential prejudice to you which may be caused by the freezing order/proceedings; and/or
  3. To lay the groundwork for your defence and/or counterclaim.

Injunctions are a heavyweight piece of litigation and the stakes are often high. It is no exaggeration to say that if your opponent does follow through with its threat and obtains an injunction which is not handled correctly, not only could it result in you losing your assets, you could ultimately be imprisoned. Specialist advice is paramount for these reasons alone. Instructing a solicitor in this area will also put a protective barrier between you and your opponent and take the heat off you.

Please contact us for a free, and no-obligation, conversation.

Assess and monitor the threat

Freezing injunctions are typically sought without your opponent or its legal representatives providing any advance warning to you. This is because giving a defendant notice normally defeats the purpose of the injunction in that they may then seek to get rid of, or deal with, their assets before they are frozen.

The fact that your opponent has decided to give you some notice may indicate that it is unsure as to whether to proceed against you and/or the threat of an injunction could ultimately represent an empty threat or pressure tactic.

On the other hand, a claimant may have decided that the circumstances of the case have warranted giving you very short notice of an application for a freezing order.

You should bear in mind that if the claimant delays making its application to court for a freezing injunction, this could weaken the application and it may be tactically in your best interests to protract matters as long as possible.

Any and all threats for applications to court for freezing injunctions should be taken seriously, properly assessed and kept under review at all stages.

Please contact us for more information or if you need legal assistance.

Pick your battles

If your opponent is threatening to apply to court for a freezing injunction but has not yet done so, and the threat is considered to be real, fighting the freezing of your assets may not always be in your best interests.

It is important to pick your battles. Depending on the circumstances, rather than fighting any freezing injunction, you may consider alternative methods, for example:-

  • Agreeing to provide certain undertakings to restrict the use of your assets for a period rather than taking the risk of fighting the potential application for a freezing injunction, and incurring the inherent legal costs as part of that process. You may be able to agree terms which are more advantageous than the court could impose. In addition, you may be left with more of a ‘fighting fund’ which could be put to better use in order to resist the overall claim.
  • Offering to provide security at a certain limit (insofar as proceedings are issued) pending the outcome of any trial of those proceedings. An injunction may impact on your creditworthiness and this course of action could avoid the need for a freezing injunction, including the legal argument about it.
  • Seeking to agree a compromise in respect of both the application for an injunction and the underlying claim. There are a range of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms available to parties to a dispute which can save the time, cost and risk associated with court proceedings. It is important to protect your position by considering whether it is necessary to make any offer on a “without prejudice” basis (which seeks to prevent statements that are made in a genuine attempt to settle a dispute from being put before the court as evidence of admissions).

Please contact us for more information or if you need legal assistance.