Whether freezing order could be granted in support of US forfeiture proceedings


An interim freezing order had been granted in support of foreign proceedings. That foreign action  was a forfeiture claim brought by the US government against certain assets held in England by the  Singaporean defendants (who are not defendants to the US claim, but it is their assets which are  the subject of the US claim). The Court of Appeal has now discharged the freezing order, holding as  follows:

  1. A freezing injunction cannot be said to be “in support of” the US forfeiture proceedings if any  judgment obtained in those proceedings could not be enforced or recognised here. Although there may  be some cases where it is appropriate for the court to grant a freezing order without enforcement  taking place here, it has to be shown that there would be “some utility” in granting the freezing injunction.
  2. Any judgment in the US proceedings would not be enforceable under English common law because it  would relate to property situated outside the US. Even if that conclusion was wrong, the judgment  would not be enforceable here because that would amount to the enforcement of a foreign penal law.