- The plaintiffs, Mareva Compania Naviera SA (“the Shipowners”) owned the vessel, “the Mareva”.
- The Shipowners issued a writ on 25 June 1975 claiming against the defendants, International Bulkcarriers SA (“the Charterers”), unpaid hire and damages for repudiation of a charterparty.
- On an ex parte application, Donaldson J granted an injunction until 23 June 1975 restraining the Charterers from removing or disposing out of the jurisdiction moneys standing to the credit of the Charterers’ account at a London bank.
- Donaldson J felt that he had no power to grant an injunction due to the Shipowners not having a judgment for the debt but granted an injunction until 23 June 1975 to allow the Court to be able to reconsider the position.
- The Shipowners appealed against Donaldson J’s refusal to extend the injunction beyond 23 June 1975.
- Did the Court have the power to grant a Mareva injunction despite no judgment debt?
- The Court granted the order requested making use of the jurisdiction given to it by the Supreme Court of Judicature (Consolidation) Act 1925 (UK) (“the Act“).
- The Act allowed for a mandamus or an injunction to be granted or a receiver appointed by an interlocutory order of the Court in all cases in which it is just or convenient.
- The order could be made even though it dealt with assets in which the plaintiff claimed no direct right.
- In Beddow v Beddow ((1878) 9 Ch D 89, Jessel MR provided a wide interpretation to that section, stating that “I have unlimited power to grant an injunction in any case where it would be right or just to do so … ”
- An injunction cannot be granted where there is no legal or equitable right to do so.
“If it appears that the debt is due and owing, and there is a danger that the debtor may dispose of his assets so as to defeat it before judgment, the court has jurisdiction in a proper case to grant an interlocutory judgment so as to prevent him disposing of those assets.”
(Lord Denning MR)
The full text is available here: http://www.uniset.ca/other/cs4/19801AER213.html
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