Without enforcement, an arbitration process and subsequent awards can be a pointless exercise. Freezing orders are an important tool in any dispute and a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Western Australia suggests that courts are willing to protect the enforceability of future awards.
In a dispute arising out of works performed as part of the Roy Hill Iron Ore Project (Project), Trans Global Projects (TGP) applied to the Supreme Court for a freezing order against Duro Felguera Australia (Duro) which would keep Duro’s assets in the jurisdiction until an arbitral award could be made. TGP also sought an ancillary order against Duro for the disclosure of its assets and liabilities.
The Supreme Court ordered that AU$20 million of Duro’s assets be subject to a freezing order, on the basis that there is a danger that any arbitral award against Duro may not be satisfied because the assets of Duro would be removed from Australia or disposed of, dealt with or diminished in value. The court also decided that Duro should disclose its assets and liabilities.