On 15 January 2015 the Court of Appeal (Longmore LJ) refused permission to appeal a decision declining to continue a freezing injunction in support of Ukrainian proceedings by the claimant.

In the Commercial Court, Blair J had refused the continuation of the injunction after the claim had failed at every level in Ukraine, and there were no longer any proceedings in that jurisdiction. The claimant argued that the injunction should be continued on the basis of fresh evidence that the Ukrainian High Specialised Court would be likely to allow an appeal. Blair J was not convinced that there was a good arguable case that the claimant would be successful, as the opposite had already been decided in the Ukrainian courts.

Longmore LJ held that:

  • "Appeals on the question of good arguable case are not to be encouraged since judges of the Commercial Court can be expected to recognise a good arguable case when they see one". It was "inappropriate for permission to appeal to be given in this case against what is obviously a very carefully considered decision of the judge".
  • Freezing injunctions were powerful weapons preventing a defendant from dealing with his assets. They should not be allowed to exist for a lengthy period of time, unless there was a good arguable case. There was serious doubt as to whether it was right for such powerful injunctions granted in support of foreign proceedings to be left in the air once a determination by the highest court had been made in those proceedings.
  • Freezing injunctions granted in support of foreign proceedings should be regarded as having lapsed once the final court had made a determination in those proceedings, even if other parties could continue those proceedings and even if those proceedings might have some benefit to the defendant.

JSC Ukrsibbank (a company incorporated in Ukraine) v Polyakov [2015] EWCA Civ 67, 15 January 2015