Phoenix Group Foundation v Cochrane and another

Practice – Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The Commercial Court continued a freezing order, which had been ordered in favour of the claimant and continued in 2016, freezing a sum of £2m, which the second defendant firm of solicitors had received into its general client account. The firm contended that that the sum had been paid as part payment of its invoiced fees and paid disbursements. The claimant submitted that there had been no authority to transfer the sums, which allegedly represented the proceeds, or part of the proceeds, of the sale of a property forming part of assets held by the first defendant, whom the claimant contended owed it £73m, under the terms of a loan note. The court held that there was a good arguable case that the firm was not entitled to receive the sum from the true owner for the stated purposes, and that that was sufficient to satisfy the Chabra jurisdiction. Moreover, there was a good arguable case that, should the claimant's claim against the first defendant succeed, the £2m sitting in the firm's client account would be amenable to execution of a judgment against the first defendant.

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