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Freezing Orders

As anyone who has ever tried to collect a debt knows, there is a big difference between obtaining a judgment on the debt and obtaining payment.

In difficult cases, one of the ways a debtor can be encouraged to pay is by obtaining a freezing order against his or her assets. This is a court order which prevents the subject of the order from disposing of assets or removing them from the country. It is often described as a ‘nuclear option’, because of the effect it has on the subject of the order, and is only granted in serious cases.

If an application for a freezing order turns out to be inappropriate, it is normal for the applicant to bear both their own and the debtor’s legal costs.

To obtain a freezing order, the person owed the money will firstly have to establish that there is a good case for a sum being due, and then show that there is a real risk that the debtor will dissipate the assets over which a freezing order is sought.