The recent judgment of Parvalorem v Oliveira and others [2013] EWHC 4195 (Ch) saw the High Court consider the approach in the granting, or continuation of, a freezing order, in relation to the “typical exceptions” for ordinary business expenses, living expenses and legal costs.

In brief, the case concerned a dispute as to the allowance for business expenses, (which had not been specified in the original without notice order) that was made over assets in the UK, for a sum in excess of £27 million. The respondents were a Portuguese national (“the first respondent”) and two Portuguese companies in which the first respondent held office as a director. The freezing order application was apparently pursued by the applicants upon obtaining certain relief in Portugal against the first respondent, who was also subject to criminal proceedings.

Citing a number of notable authorities, including A v C [1981] QB 961, Warren J made the following observations:

  1. (At 33) – the White Book’s authority on the typical exceptions to a freezing order should be read in the context of freezing injunctions capturing all or nearly all of the assets of the defendant.
  2. (At 51) – Jurisdiction as a factor is both “flexible and fact dependant”.

In arriving at his judgment, Warren J held that the starting point in respect of world wide freezing orders should be to include the “usual” exceptions. This is particularly so where the scope of the order included all of the Defendant’s assets, the Defendant had no foreign connection or there was a freezing order in relation to his domestic assets. However the position would differ in respect of a freezing order over the domestic assets of a foreign defendant who also held foreign assets. In the case concerned, the Court was able to infer that the Defendant had access to other sources of assets.