Case Alert - [2018] EWCA Civ 1

Court of Appeal confirms that freezing order obtained abroad can be registered and served here pending an appeal against registration

A bank commenced proceedings in Cyprus and obtained a worldwide freezing order from the Cypriot court. It then registered that freezing order as a judgment of the English High Court (pursuant to Article 38 of the Judgments Regulation (EC Regulation 44/2001)). The two novel issues in this case were:

(1) Whether the worldwide freezing order became immediately effective and fully enforceable here or whether it only became effective and fully enforceable if no appeal is brought in respect of the registration order within 2 months (or, if an appeal is brought, once that appeal is determined). The Court of Appeal held that the order had become immediately effective and enforceable; and

(2) What is meant by "measures of enforcement" as referred to in Article 47(3) of the Judgments Regulation. Article 47(3) provides that during the time specified for an appeal against registration, no "measures of enforcement" may be taken. The issue in this case was whether that just means the processes in which the court is involved in securing enforcement, or whether it also includes service of the worldwide freezing order and/or notification of the order to third parties. The Court of Appeal favoured the argument that, as a question of English law, "enforcement" of a judgement entails the invocation of the process of the English court. However, it did not need to decide the point because it also held that service/notification are not "measures of enforcement" prohibited by Article 47(3) (even if they contain a penal notice).