Committing a defendant to prison

Posted on: November 5th, 2014

In a judgment obtained last week, PCB obtained orders committing a defendant to prison.

The background is PCB is acting for the claimant, VTB Bank, against a Russian businessman, Pavel Skurikhin. VTB Bank has been taking steps to enforce Russian judgments obtained by it against Mr Skurikhin against assets in this jurisdiction. VTB Bank had previously succeeded in having the Russian judgments recognised in England and obtained freezing orders against Mr Skurikhin. Last Friday, VTB obtained orders from the English Court to commit Mr Skurikhin to prison for 12 months for his failure to comply with court orders in relation to his disclosure of assets and a sentence of 4 months for his failure to attend an oral examination of his assets. The sentence of 4 months was suspended to enable Mr Skurikhin to attend Court at a subsequent hearing and provide the required disclosure as to his assets.

The case highlights the fact that where there is a real risk that assets will be dissipated to prevent the enforcement of a client’s rights, the Courts will not only make orders to seek to preserve those assets but will have no hesitation in committing the defaulting party to prison should he breach or procure the breach of those orders.