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At Her Majesty's Pleasure?

Directors of 'can pay, won't pay' award debtors face the prospect of an extended stay in England should they choose to defy a receivership order granted by the English Court in aid of enforcement.

The grant by Males J of an order for the appointment of receivers by way of equitable execution in relation to foreign assets held by two arbitration award debtors, Unitech Limited ("Unitech") and Burley Holdings Limited ("Burley"), is the most recent decision of the English Court to arise out of multi-jurisdiction enforcement action by Cruz City 1 Mauritius Holdings ("Cruz City") in respect of two unpaid arbitration awards now worth over US$350 million.

Males J's judgment is another robust reminder of the English Court's policy that English judgments and arbitration awards should be complied with and that, where possible, judgment and arbitration award creditors ought to be assisted with enforcement. In particular, the Judge made it plain that the jurisdiction to appoint receivers by way of equitable execution, if necessary backed up by sanctions for contempt, is responsive to this policy and, while not unfettered, ought not to be unduly restricted by rigid expressions of principle.

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