Injunctive relief in aid of foreign proceedings

Interim injunctive relief is a powerful tool and the ability to freeze a defendant’s assets to prevent dissipation before a matter reaches trial can be an important protective step. What options are available if a defendant holds his assets in a British Virgin Islands (BVI) business company? If the substantive litigation is not brought within the BVI, can a claimant still look to freeze the assets of the BVI companies?

Historically, it was assumed that the answer was ‘no’. However, in Black Swan Investments ISA v Harvest View Ltd and Others BVIHCV 2009/399, Mr Justice Bannister QC, sitting in the Commercial Division of the High Court of the Virgin Islands, held that the BVI court could and should grant injunctive relief in support of foreign proceedings in certain circumstances. The judge’s reasoning was considered and approved by the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court of Appeal in Yukos CIS Investments Ltd and Others v Yukos Hydrocarbons Investments Ltd and Others HCVAP 2010/028.

In Siskina, the House of Lords held that freezing injunctions could not be awarded by the English court where there was no substantive action before it that it had jurisdiction to determine by way of final judgment…

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