Ireland - Attachment of Assets
Klaus Reichert is a Barrister and Chartered Arbitrator practising from Dublin and Brick Court Chambers London. He holds dual Irish and German nationality. He is admitted to the Bars of Ireland (1992 - King's Inns), England & Wales (1996 - Middle Temple), and Northern Ireland (1998). His work principally involves commercial dispute resolution in the international field, both as Counsel and Arbitrator.
Originally from Attachment of Assets
1. What is the general nature and effect of judicial measures available for plaintiffs to obtain provisional relief affecting property of debtors to obtain security for judgments to be obtained (“attachments”)? Freezing property in place? Placing it in the custody of a third party, such as a court official, sheriff or marshall?
Depending on the nature of the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant, be it in personam or in rem, there are a full range of reliefs and orders available from the Irish Courts to assist in the securing and preserving assets of a defendant for ultimate satisfaction of a judgment.
Taking in personam claims first, which tend to be the more numerous type coming before the Irish Courts, the principal attachments are the Mareva Injunction, and the Anton Piller Order. The Anton Piller Order is used principally for securing evidence for the trial of the action, or counterfeit articles in intellectual property disputes, although it can also be used to attach assets. However, the Mareva Injunction, with its attendant order for disclosure of the location and extent of a defendant’s assets, forms the mainstay of attachments in Ireland.
Claims in rem are assisted by orders for the preservation, detention or inspection of the asset in question. However, such orders are made infrequently as damages are almost always an adequate remedy, thus defeating the application for an injunction.
As already stated, the Mareva Injunction is the primary weapon for a plaintiff to attach assets of a defendant, and, therefore, will be the principal subject of discussion here.
If a plaintiff uses the Mareva Injunction, the defendant’s property is normally frozen in situ. However, the High Court does have the power to make an order for the amount in dispute in a contractual matter to be brought into court or otherwise secured. If such an order is made, the money would be deposited into the High Court central account, and could only be paid out again on foot of a court order.