The court will not tolerate breaches of restrictions placed upon a party subject to a freezing order.

In Bank of Scotland Plc (t/a Halifax) v Dodd, the bank obtained a freezing injunction against the defendant against whom it alleged mortgage fraud. The injunction provided that the defendant should not leave the jurisdiction and required him to deliver up his passport to his solicitors. Despite the order, and during its continuance, the defendant obtained a new passport and travelled to Cuba. He did not deliver up his passport until the bank began these committal proceedings.

The court found the defendant's attitude to the court order disrespectful. Although he may have had good reason for the breach (to see his sick child), it was still deliberate. He should have sought to vary the terms of the order rather than ignore and breach them. His failure to hand over his passport was also deliberate and calculated. The court therefore made a custodial sentence of two months suspended for one year.

Things to consider

Rightly, the court takes a very dim view of breaches of orders of this nature, especially where they are deliberate as in this instance. Lenders should not be shy to seek to enforce such orders obtained from court.