The greatest Easter egg hunt: asset recovery in the English courts

15 April 2019. Published by Davina Given, Partner and Emma West, Associate

Succeeding in complex commercial fraud litigation may be difficult enough, but victory counts for little if the damages awarded cannot be recovered from the fraudster.

It is not unusual for fraudsters to hide their assets to defeat attempts to enforce orders against them, often through a series of convoluted transactions, using a web of offshore entities.  Before court proceedings start, it can pay to identify and preserve the "golden egg" (or eggs) - the assets which could be available to satisfy any judgment. 

Fortunately, the English court recognises the scale and ubiquity of fraudulent schemes and the challenges faced by those seeking to bring fraudsters to justice.  In 2018 the court issued a worldwide freezing order of US$540 million, showing its willingness to go wide and big. It also announced a new court to deal specifically with fraud and cybercrime.  It has a number of tools to assist in the hunt for the golden egg, both in this jurisdiction and worldwide.

In the run up to Easter, we'll provide a (large-scale) treasure map to asset recovery in the English courts, to help the hungry egg-hunter in their search for and capture of the golden egg - a healthy distraction for anyone abstaining in the difficult final days of Lent. 

If you can't resist the temptation to find out more about asset tracing right now, take a look at Terralex's Guide to Tracing Assets Around the World.   The guide contains contributions from lawyers in over 25 jurisdictions in the Americas, Europe and Asia, including RPC.