Emergency injunctions (freezing and search and seizure orders)
These orders are considered to be the most draconian orders which an English Court can grant, “the nuclear option”. They are normally made on the urgent application of one party without notice to the other and can immediately put unbelievable pressure on a Defendant. If the Defendant is within the jurisdiction of the English Court and fails to comply with the Court’s order he can be faced by an application for contempt of Court, punishable by a prison sentence. Such orders can ultimately also affect a person’s ability to travel elsewhere, particularly within the EC. How this will be affected by Brexit remains unclear at the moment.
A freezing order usually freezes a Defendant’s bank accounts and assets up to a specified amount, granting the Defendant a weekly living allowance and some monies to use for legal costs. A freezing order is often combined with a search and seizure injunction which is designed to ensure that control and possession of critical documentation, property or evidence is preserved and not destroyed pending trial. Such an order permits a Claimant’s lawyer to enter the Defendant’s premises (with a third party solicitor) to search and remove specific property. It can even authorise a computer sweep.
Usually the evidence portrays the Defendant in the worst possible light. However the evidence must be clear and complete; a failure to disclose material information can prove disastrous.
These orders can be calamitous for a Defendant. Their cumulative effect can be to damage his business by freezing most of its assets and forcing him to reveal important information which may be of critical use to his competitors. However it is crucial for the Defendant to appreciate that if he is ordered to reveal his assets to the Court and the Claimant, he must do so even if the Defendant intends to apply to set aside the orders. Non-compliance to produce the information will be considered a contempt of Court.
Understandably a Defendant can feel aggrieved but it is essential to keep calm and to work hard to persuade the Court he is not “the baddie”. Obtaining and responding to these orders is costly, time is of the essence and requires the lawyers to get up to speed very quickly indeed and requires a lot of strategic thinking. Hence experience counts and we at GSC have handled such pressure many times. We can walk with you through the experience.
Michael’s excellent legal knowledge, guidance and professionalism enabled a successful defence. He is a straight talker, getting to the heart of the issues quickly. Tactically astute with excellent negotiation skills. I would highly recommend Michael in any Commercial litigation.
Michael Shapiro is concise in his advice and adopts a pragmatic approach to challenges delivering realistic and enterprising solutions which produce results.
Michael is our first call whenever we need any legal advice. Straight talking, commercial astute, knowledgeable and honest, he has consistently produced results that result in better outcomes for my business. I am pleased to call him our lawyer and partner.
I have known Michael for 15 years, he is dynamic in his approach to the various problems we have put his way. He gets to the heart of the problem quickly and provides a very workable solution. His litigation skills are excellent and forceful with the other party. I very much like him on my side.
Michael Shapiro is an experienced litigator who has a very calm and collected approach to his job. He is never phased by the other side, and has an excellent manner with even the most difficult clients.
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