Freezing assets

Freezing orders can be obtained to prevent suspected fraudsters from accessing their assets. The assets should remain frozen until you have had the opportunity to obtain a favourable recovery order against the defendants and satisfied the recovery order by releasing those assets. Freezing orders are recognised and enforceable in many countries and generally contain prohibitions on the fraudster.

Other orders can also be obtained: e.g. search orders enable valuable evidence, such as images of computer drives, to be recovered; receiving orders appoint a receiver to investigate and manage the fraudster’s assets. Some of these orders are onerous to defendants, and the victim will need to give a number of undertakings to the court and others who may be affected by such orders before they are granted.

Once a freezing order has been obtained, there are a number of steps you should take simultaneously to ensure that the order is as effective as possible. Ideally this should be done with the assistance of a solicitor and other members of the recovery team and may include:


• Quickly obtaining court orders in other countries to freeze assets identified overseas;

• Serving the freezing order on third parties (e.g. banks) to ensure that assets they control are frozen;

• Serving the freezing order on the fraudster as soon as practicable – the fraudster will normally be required to disclose details of his/her assets and can also be required to surrender his/her passport(s) if there is a risk that he/she will leave the country without complying with all obligations under the freezing order; and

• Serving any search orders, receiving orders and other orders obtained, as appropriate.