On 22 April 2014, the County Court Remedies Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/982) (the 2014 Regulations) come into force. We have summarised the impact of the 2014 Regulations on the County Court’s jurisdiction to grant search orders and freezing injunctions below.
The 2014 Regulations revoke and replace the County Court Regulations 1991 (SI 1991/1222) (the 1991 Regulations). The 1991 Regulations prohibited, except in specified circumstances, the County Court from granting search orders and freezing injunctions.
The 2014 Regulations impact the jurisdiction of the County Court as follows:
Following the revocation of the 1991 Regulations, the County Court is no longer subject to any restrictions regarding the granting of freezing orders. This is a significant change. Note: Lexis®PSL Dispute Resolution subscribers can click through for an introduction to freezing injunctions.
The County Court is still prohibited from granting search orders, except in the circumstances specified in the 1991 Regulations and now set out in the 2014 Regulations, namely:
◦ judges who would normally sit in the High Court or the Court of Appeal are able to grant search orders when sitting as judges of the Country Court (SI 2014/982, reg 3(2))
◦ any application to the High Court for a search order in County Court proceedings shall be deemed to include an application for transfer of the proceedings to the High Court (SI 2014/982, reg 4)
◦ where the proceedings (and not just the application) are transferred to the High Court, there will be a transfer back to the County Court once the application has been disposed of if they were transferred to the High Court or apart from the 2014 Regulations they should have been commenced in the County Court (SI 2014/982, reg 5(1))
◦ where an application for a search order is made without notice it shall not be treated as disposed of for the purposes of reg 5(1) until any application to set aside or vary has been heard or until the expiry of 28 days (or such other period as the court may specify) during which no such application has been made (SI 2014/982, reg 5(2))