Singapore - Attachment of Assets
Desmond Ho, Partner, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Allen & Gledhill LLP
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?
In Singapore, there are a number of interim judicial measures available which can provide provisional relief in terms of creating “security” for judgments. The word “security” used in this context does not connote the creation of actual security in the sense of elevating the plaintiff’s claim to that of a secured creditor, but operates as measures to prevent the defendant from disposing his assets so that the enforcement of judgment or award would not be rendered ineffective.
For the present purposes, the most relevant measure is the Mareva injunction or freezing order, which is an interlocutory order that prevents a defendant from dissipating his assets and obstructing the effective enforcement of judgments or awards.
In addition, the Singapore courts have the power to order mandatory injunctions against a defendant. A mandatory injunction has the effect of compelling the defendant to perform a positive act. This is as opposed to a prohibitory injunction which prevents the defendant from doing a certain act. Given the more drastic effects of mandatory injunctions, the courts would normally be more reluctant to grant mandatory injunctions compared to prohibitory ones.
Besides Mareva injunctions, there are a number of other forms of relief that operate as “attachments” to the defendant’s assets. Such measures include:
(a) relief under section 17 of the Debtors Act, Chapter 73 of Singapore;
(b) orders under Order 29 Rule 2 of the Rules of Court; and
(c) ship arrests under the High Court (Admiralty Jurisdiction) Act, Chapter 123 of Singapore.