Freezing orders pending an appeal – what jurisdiction does the High Court have?

Will Holder

In Metropolitan Housing Trust Ltd v Taylor and others, the High Court confirmed that it had jurisdiction to continue a freezing order pending an application to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.  That jurisdiction was, however, subject to a number of conditions, including that the appeal had a real prospect of success.

Background

On 19 October 2015, Mr Justice Warren ordered the discharge of a freezing order which had been granted against the defendants and refused the claimant’s application for permission to appeal. The claimant submitted that Warren J had jurisdiction to continue the freezing order until the Court of Appeal had heard its application for permission to appeal and that he should exercise that jurisdiction in its favour. The defendants submitted that the High Court had no such jurisdiction and the freezing order should be discharged immediately.

Decision

Warren J referred to a number of authorities which confirmed that, where a claimant had lost at first instance, certain conditions had to be satisfied before the High Court could grant an interim injunction pending an appeal. These conditions, which were laid down in Novartis AG v Hospira UK Ltd [2013] EWCA Civ 583, included that the court was satisfied that the appeal had a real prospect of success. That condition was clearly not satisfied here, as Warren J had previously refused permission to appeal. Consequently, any application for a further freezing order had to be made to the Court of Appeal which, if it granted the claimant permission to appeal, could grant a fresh freezing order pending the hearing of that appeal.

However, Warren J decided that he had jurisdiction to continue the freezing order for a period of 21 days to allow the claimant to apply to the Court of Appeal for a fresh freezing order.  This would protect the claimant’s position while it made the application.

Metropolitan Housing Trust Ltd v Taylor and others (Chancery Division, unreported, 23 October 2015)

Practical Law subscribers can access the judgment here.

Post By Will Holder (4 Posts)

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