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Cryptoassets; English Freezing and Proprietary Injunctions

If your client is the victim of fraud, and some of the fraudster’s assets are cryptoassets, can you get a freezing or proprietary injunction over them from the English courts? Robert Rhodes QC answers this question in the latest edition of US-China Law Review.

The fundamental question is: Are cryptoassets “property”, so as to be capable of being the subject of an injunction?

Recently, this has been the subject of various decisions in the UK High Court, culminating in AA v Persons Unknown [2020] EWHC 3556, where Bryan J held that although cryptoassets are neither things in possession nor things in action, they are a third category of “property” which English law recognises, and so they can be the subject of an injunction.

Robert Rhodes QC and Andrew Maguire discuss this topic and the judgment in more detail in US-China Law Review 2020 Vol.17 No. 2 p.39.

The article considers:

  • The legal status of cryptoassets in English law
  • Seeking an injunction in respect of a cryptoasset
  • How to locate cryptocurrencies
  • Governing law
  • The worldwide reach of English law

Read the full article in US-China Law Review here.

You can access past editions and subscribe to US-China Law review here.

About the Author

Robert Rhodes QC specialises in business crime including civil and criminal fraud, tax investigations, bribery and money laundering, financial services, regulatory and disciplinary law.
He is also on numerous international mediation and arbitration panels, and acts as both counsel and mediator/arbitrator. Amongst the arbitration panels of which he is a member is the newly formed Chartered Institute of Arbitrators’ Pandemic Business Dispute Resolution Service. He is also a member of the Arbitration and Mediation Panels of the Court of Arbitration for Art, Rotterdam.

Robert’s Far East expertise is far reaching. Through Benchmark Chambers International and Benchmark International Mediation Centre, the Base of the Supreme People’s Court of The People’s Republic of China (SPC) Robert is a member of the SPC’s pool of experts for discerning foreign law. He sits on a number of Far East panels of arbitrators/ mediators, including the Arbitration Panel of the Beijing Arbitration Commission. He has been appointed a Senior International Mediation Expert at the Mainland-Hong Kong Joint Mediation Center, Hong Kong, as well as an adjunct professor by the International Dispute Resolution and Risk Management Institute. He is also an Invited Expert on the Professional Committee on Investment Arbitration of the China Academy of Arbitration Law.

Robert has been recommended as a Leading Silk in Fraud, Banking and Finance by the Legal 500. He has spoken in various continents on international mediation, international arbitration, fraud, bribery, and money laundering.

Find Out More

To find out more about Robert please see his website profile or contact Matt Sale on +44 (0)20 7353 6381 who would be happy to discuss his practice in more detail.

External Publications 13 Jul, 2020


Robert Rhodes KC

Call: 1968 Silk: 1989

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