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In Grasberg Capital Asia Limited v Bank of Communications Limited, it was the first time for the Hong Kong court to rule that a third party bank notified of a Mareva injunction owes no duty of care to the holder of the Mareva injunction. The court followed the legal principles held by the House of Lords in a factually similar UK case, Customs and Excise Commissioners v Barclays Bank plc. A Bank was notified by a third party with a freezing injunction granted in his/her favour against one of the bank’s customers, affecting an account held by the customer with the bank. The issue before the House of Lords was whether that bank owes a duty of care to the third party to take reasonable care to comply with the terms of the injunction. The House of Lords held that:-

  1. The bank could not be understood as having voluntarily assumed responsibility so as to give rise to a duty of care;
  2. The freezing injunction was enforceable by contempt of court only and the notified party’s duty is to the court only; and
  3. It would not be fair, just and reasonable to recognize a duty of care in such circumstances.

Find out more in:

1.            Andrew Mak, Law of Injunctions in Hong Kong

2.            Lexis® Practical Guidance – Hong Kong Dispute Resolution

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