Showing Utmost Contempt: Enforcing a Court Order Against a Company


Author: Dr Tom Courtney, Joanelle O’Cleirigh and Kate O’Donohoe

If I get a court order against a company, and the company does not comply with the order, what can I do?

If the company wilfully disobeys the court judgment/order, you can apply to the High Court to have it enforced. The application is made to the High Court, even if the judgment/order was made by a lower court. The High Court will typically deal with the application on affidavit only, and will not hear oral evidence.

The statutory basis for such an application is section 53 of the Companies Act 2014, which effectively provides for a statutory form of civil contempt. Section 53 came into effect on 1 June 2015. The Rules of the Superior Courts also provide for such an application.

On hearing the application, the Court can make orders for the following:

  • sequestration against the company’s property;
  • attachment against the directors/officers of the company; or
  • sequestration against the property of the directors/officers.

The Court will only make an order under section 53 where the company wilfully disobeyed the relevant judgment/order (see below).

In all other cases, you must look to the usual litigation remedies, e.g. obtaining a judgment mortgage or an order for possession or appointing a receiver. These remedies are not specific to companies.

Read the full briefing here.


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