A Valentine’s Day Massacre

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The recent case of Kuznetsov v War Group Ltd & Ors provides a salutary reminder of the importance to the Court of the applicant’s duty to provide full and frank disclosure when applying for an injunction.

Mr Kuznetsov successfully bid on a number of properties at an auction on 24 January 2024.  The auction contracts required him to complete his purchases within 28 days.  On 14 February 2024 he applied for an injunction asserting that he was in a position to complete, but the sellers’ solicitors were not responding to him.  To support his application, Mr Kuznetsov produced to the Court documentary evidence in the form of: (a) a chain of unanswered emails; (b) a copy of the sales memoranda; (c) An unanswered letter of claim; and (d) the general conditions of sales.

Two days later, on 16 February 2024, there was a further hearing.  By now the seller’s solicitors were aware of the application and had written to the Court.  Unfortunately for Mr Kuznetsov, the response demonstrated that he had been far from “full and frank” with the Court on 14 February 2024. 

Firstly, Mr Kuznetsov had successfully bid for three properties, not the two he had told the Judge about.

Secondly, the sellers’ solicitors produced a full copy of their email exchanges with Mr Kuznetsov, who had left the Judge at the earlier hearing with the understanding that there had been no dialogue between him and the sellers’ solicitors.

Thirdly, he had not told the Judge about, or shown him the sellers’ solicitors’ response to the letter of claim.

Fourthly, the Mr Kuznetsov had not shown the Judge the full contracts for the sale of the properties – specifically he had not shown the Judge the Special Conditions of Sale.  These expressly required the purchase monies to be transferred from a solicitors’ or licensed conveyancer’s client account.  The sellers were ready and willing to complete, but for regulatory and contractual reasons the purchase monies had to be transferred from a solicitors’/conveyancers’ client account.

Mr Kuznetsov’s application for an injunction therefore failed on its merits. 

The Judge however took the opportunity to remind applicants of the fundamental importance of the duty of full and frank disclosure when making these applications.  Mr Kuznetsov was unrepresented, but that does not matter.  The Judge commented that even if the application had merit, the withholding of documents and information was so serious he dismissed the application for that reason alone.

It is not known whether Mr Kuznetsov managed to instruct solicitors/conveyancers to complete his purchases.  The contractual time for completing the purchases expired on 21 February 2024, 3 working days after the hearing.  The irony (pointed out by the Judge) was that if Mr Kuznetsov had just instructed solicitors when this was made clear to him on 31 January 2024, the transactions would probably have completed before he even made his application to the Court.

If you think you need an injunction, or if you have been served with a Court Order please contact our litigation team.

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Please note that the contents of this article are intended solely for general information purposes and should not be considered as legal advice. We cannot be held responsible for any loss resulting from actions or inactions taken based on this article.

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