Enforcement of Order to Obtain Information Against Foreign Director


As many successful claimants have discovered to their detriment, it is one thing to obtain judgment against a debtor and quite another to enforce it. In the worst examples, judgment creditors have found that pursuing a judgment debtor has in fact cost them money rather than recovered any of the outstanding debt.
When judgment creditors need more information about their debtor, they can apply to the court for an Order to Obtain Information. The Order requires the judgment debtor (or a responsible officer, if the debtor is a company) to attend court to provide detailed financial information. In a recent case, the House of Lords considered whether such an Order was enforceable on a director of a foreign company resident abroad and whether the information to be provided extended to foreign assets.
The Law Lords held that although an Order to Obtain Information did not expressly exempt application to foreign assets, the Order should only be sought against officers of a company within the jurisdiction of the English courts. As the dispute in this case was a private dispute, there was no public policy ground on which to justify the examination of the director, unlike, for example, the public examination of an officer within the process of corporate insolvency.


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