Brick Court Chambers

News & Events

‘One of the super-sets’, Brick Court Chambers is ‘an all-round strong’ set with ‘a large selection of high-quality competition law specialists’, ‘top commercial counsel’, ‘an excellent chambers for banking litigation’, and a ‘go-to’ set for public administrative law.
The Legal 500 2020
The clerks’ room ‘sets the benchmark’ for other sets with its ‘friendly, knowledgeable, and hardworking’ clerks.
The Legal 500 2020
"An outstanding commercial set with a track record of excellence across its core areas of work."
Chambers & Partners 2018
"A set that is singled out for its "first-rate" clerking and "client service-oriented, commercial approach."

Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal upholds discharge of US$3 billion freezing orders


The Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal against an order discharging three freezing orders granted in Renova Industries Limited and others v Emmerson International Corporation and others. The freezing orders were granted in November and December 2018, and each froze assets with a gross value of over US$3 billion.  Jack J ruled that the freezing orders should be discharged in June 2019, but the orders remained in place pending the result of an appeal by Emmerson International Corporation (“Emmerson”). That appeal was heard in July 2019.

The case concerns claims brought by Mr Mikhail Abyzov and certain companies associated with him (collectively, the “Abyzov Parties”) against Mr Viktor Vekselberg and a number of companies within the Renova Group (collectively, the “Renova Parties”). Mr Vekselberg is a prominent Russian businessman. Mr Abyzov is a former Russian government minister and is the subject of a criminal investigation in Russia. The Abyzov Parties have brought claims against the Renova Parties in the BVI seeking to recover the value of contributions made to a joint venture relating to Russian electricity generation and distribution assets. 

The freezing orders granted by Wallbank J froze shares in three companies listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The Court of Appeal held that Jack J was entitled to conclude that there was no evidence of a real risk of unjustifiable dissipation of assets by Mr Vekselberg or the three Renova Group companies to which the freezing orders were addressed. The Court of Appeal also agreed with Jack J that it was inappropriate for the freezing orders to have been granted in light of the delay in the Abyzov Parties seeking freezing relief. The Court of Appeal therefore upheld Jack J’s ruling that there was no basis for the freezing orders.

In any event, the Court of Appeal held that Jack J had been entitled to conclude that there were a number of serious non-disclosures by Emmerson at the ex parte hearings in November and December 2018, including a failure to explain to the Judge the content of certain documents disclosed by Mr Vekselberg pursuant to an asset disclosure order, which were directly relevant to matters addressed in the freezing order applications. The Court of Appeal agreed with Jack J that, even if there was a real risk of dissipation, the freezing orders had to be discharged as a result of those serious non-disclosures.

The Court of Appeal has also dismissed two related appeals filed by Emmerson concerning: (i) an order creating a confidentiality club for documents to be disclosed pursuant to the freezing orders; and (ii) an order dismissing an application by Emmerson for an adjournment of the discharge applications.

Michael Bolding (together with Paul McGrath KC (Essex Court Chambers) and others) represented the Renova Parties, instructed by DLA Piper and Agon Litigation.