The effect is that your assets and income are frozen and you are prevented from dealing with them. It’s typically applied before a court case as a proactive step to prevent the dealing of assets. The impact of such a restriction will almost certainly cripple the person on whom it is placed.

By law, your bank will prevent you from handling or accessing your account. Your direct debits and standing orders may be cancelled and the day-to-day banking facilities that you depend upon, may be suspended.

Despite the funds belonging to you, you will be allowed to withdraw only a nominal sum each week and, that too, must usually be withdrawn as cash over the counter. You will be required to disclose full details of your assets and income, together with any information relating to the financial transactions that may have occurred in the fraud.

If you’ve been given a freezing order, it’s likely to make you feel anxious about how you’re going to afford to live. You may be suffering sleepless nights wondering how you’re going to pay your bills, your mortgage and buy food to eat. It’s undoubtedly a challenging time that may be improved by working with a competent solicitor who has experience in this field.

Understanding the terms and implications of a freezing order is critical to avoid facing new charges for contempt of court. If you accidentally or even purposefully breach your freezing order, you will need to take the guidance of a legal professional to guide you.

Once the trial takes place and if you are found guilty, your assets may then be subject to a confiscation order. This outcome is why a freezing order was applied to prevent you from disposing of your assets. Disposal may be in the form of giving away, selling, transferring or spending.

The freezing order means that your bank accounts will be frozen. You won’t be able to access your funds, and it’s unlikely that you’ll be given any cash for anything more than your basic living expenses.

Being subject to a fraud investigation can be anxiety-inducing. It can have a very negative effect on you and your family and sometimes your business, and it’s vital that you engage an experienced solicitor to help you.

Have you been served with a Freezing Order?

If you or somebody close to you has had a freezing order served, it’s probable that you are under investigation for a serious financial crime or other criminal offence. You may be in the process of an investigation into drug offences, fraud or money laundering. It’s critical that at this time, you engage a specialist legal professional to protect your interests.

It’s likely that you’re feeling anxious, stressed and confused about what’s going to happen next.

What type of situation warrants the issuing of a Freezing Order?

Any person can apply to a civil court to put a freezing order on assets and income if they can prove the following circumstances apply:

There is a good arguable case for the other person to answer to

There is a real risk that the assets will be disposed of or hidden, so there is less or nothing left to pay the liability or losses to the person bringing the case

It is fair and reasonable for the order to be granted

Despite it being relatively easy to obtain a freezing order, it’s still possible to improve the conditions of it by engaging a competent lawyer to challenge it.

There are occasional flaws in the freezing order. Perhaps the requesting party had not given the correct details to the court when they applied for it, or there may be significant time delays affecting the proceedings.

Who Applies for Freezing Orders?

Any person or agency can apply for a freezing order from county court or higher. At any time during a case, whether at the before a case, during a case or at the end of the case.

If you wish to bring a case against somebody, have suffered a financial loss and wish to claim back your losses; you will want to make sure the person you are claiming from will not dispose of their assets so there is nothing left for you. This is when a freezing order is very useful and gives you reassurance that you will claim your losses and the legal costs.

When is a Freezing Order imposed?

A freezing order takes effect the moment it is served on the other party. In other words, the moment it is given to them. Ideally, the freezing order should be handed to the other person by hand. If not, then the court may allow for it to be posted to the last known address or even sent electronically in some circumstances.

The same order must also be given to all the institutions known to be holding the assets of the person. The banks, the land registry, any companies or safety box providers; will all need to be notified of the freezing order.

In effect, applying a freezing order ensures the assets cannot be accessed or used until the completion of the case.

If your bank accounts and assets are used to run and manage businesses, then your businesses will be at great risk and your cash flow will be crippled. You must seek guidance from an experienced solicitor and challenge the legality of the freezing order or apply for it to be discharged.

What happens when a Freezing Order is applied?

A freezing order, sometimes known as a freezing injunction, is used by a court to stop a person from being able to transfer or dispose of their asset before the enforcement of a judgement.

At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we regularly provide advice to those who have had a freezing order imposed. We also help clients looking to obtain a freezing order. If you need assistance with understanding, using or removing a freezing order, get in touch with us today.

Freezing Orders / Injunctions in England and Wales

Freezing orders are applied to a wide range of assets. For example, bank accounts, homes, land, shares and cars. It’s possible to obtain a freezing order for assets that are within England and Wales, in addition to those on a worldwide basis.

It’s important to note that freezing orders can affect not only the assets of the person against whom there is a case but also those of third parties holding assets that may belong to that person. The freezing order means that third parties must not break it nor help nor allow the person to do so.

It’s crucial that you take advice from a competent lawyer as soon as you are aware that there may be an application for a freezing order to be placed on your assets. Catching any errors or misjudgements early before they have time to affect the case is paramount to the positive outcome of the case.

Instruct a legal professional as soon as possible

Whatever stage you are at, whether you know that a case is underway against you, or a freezing order has already been imposed on your assets; it’s essential that you engage a specialist fraud solicitor to support you immediately.

If you don’t do this, you will not help your case, and you will also have to endure a challenging experience as you won’t be able to access day-to-day living expenses. It may affect the lives of your dependents.

What should you do if you are given a freezing order?

Using Section 37 of the Senior Courts Act 1981, the court can opt to grant a freezing order if it believes that to do so is just and convenient. The following conditions must be met:

There is sufficient cause for the applicant to do so

The case of the applicant is good and arguable (even if the case will not definitely succeed)

Some assets are sufficient to meet the claim

There is a risk of the assets being either dissipated or disposed of before the conclusion of the trial and judgement

There is a full and frank disclosure made to the court from the applicant

Our fraud solicitors stay current with changes in the law and are familiar with what makes a strong case strategy. By engaging one of our team, you will have access to the best strategists and advisors. We support you throughout the process and ensure that you get the best outcome.

The freezing order process

Applications for a freezing order are made through the county court or the high court. The order may be granted without notifying the person. If this is the case, the freezing order will be imposed for a period of time and a full hearing scheduled. The applicant will need to agree to compensate the respondent if the court finds that there was no legitimate reason to impose the freezing order.

It’s typical for the person to be given 48 hours to react to the order with the value and location of all the assets (with supporting documentation). In some situations, they may even be required to sign a document to provide details about any assets being held for them.

In the most serious of cases, the passport of the person will need to be handed in to prevent them from leaving the UK, and the receiver may be put in place to monitor assets. The ordinary living expenses, payments of staff and creditors (in the case of a business) and legal fees are usually permitted.

How Can Stuart Miller Solicitors Help?

Drafting a response to requests for information requires an expert lawyer, trained to identify any risks to your personal interests and to preserve your legal and financial position. Failure to provide full and accurate information is a separate and additional criminal offence, but further, such action allows the court to draw negative inferences from your actions or omissions.

Occasionally, allegations of civil fraud transform into allegations of criminal fraud and the freezing order is substituted with a restraint order which also has similar effects.

Regardless of where and how your case begins or ends, you can be assured that our lawyers will advise you on the best course of action, consider your personal circumstances and objectives in addition to the intentions of the other party or prosecution service.

Having a highly qualified team of lawyers with extensive knowledge of freezing orders is essential. At Stuart Miller Solicitors, we are fully aware of how difficult a freezing order can make your life. It can mean you are unable to pay for your living costs, which is why we act on freezing orders as a matter of urgency.

If a freezing order is currently affecting your life or your business, make sure you seek legal advice from the very outset.

Please contact us and ask to speak to our fraud lawyers to arrange a meeting, whether face to face, online or by telephone.

Would you like to discuss your case before instructing us?

If you’d like to have a no obligation chat with us before you instruct us to take your case, then call us today.

We can provide you with a free consultation and can also represent you at the police station if you’ve been arrested. We can look at securing your legal aid.

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