Z Bank v DI: ChD 1994

A company in contempt of court may have acted with a greater or lesser degree of culpability and the court has a discretion to impose punishment commensurate with that culpability, although some penalty is likely to be appropriate unless the contempt has been casual or accidental or unintentional or subsequently purged, but ‘That, however, does not mean that there are no cases of negligent contempt where a penalty in the form of committal or sequestration would be appropriate. For example, where a contemnor had committed an isolated breach of a Mareva injunction due to the negligence of those responsible for giving appropriate orders to junior staff or perhaps due to having received negligent legal advice and had attempted to purge the contempt by restoring the status quo as far as possible, it might well be quite unnecessary for the protection of the administration of justice for any penalty to be imposed. Where by contrast there has been a very culpable degree of negligence which has resulted in numerous breaches of the Court’s order involving the abstraction of large sums of money, it will often be appropriate to impose not merely a nominal penalty but one which will be recognized as reflecting the serious view taken by the Court of the failure to comply with its orders.’ The bank being culpable, a sequestration was ordered to support the contempt finding.


Colman J


[1994] 1 Lloyds Rep 656


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedCommissioners of Customs and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc ComC 3-Feb-2004
The claimant had obtained orders against two companies who banked with the respondent. Asset freezing orders were served on the bank, but within a short time the customer used the bank’s Faxpay national service to transfer substantial sums outside . .
CitedCustoms and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc CA 22-Nov-2004
The claimant had obtained judgment against customers of the defendant, and then freezing orders for the accounts. The defendants inadvertently or negligently allowed sums to be transferred from the accounts. The claimants sought repayment by the . .
CitedHM Customs and Excise v Barclays Bank Plc HL 21-Jun-2006
The claimant had served an asset freezing order on the bank in respect of one of its customers. The bank paid out on a cheque inadvertently as to the order. The Commissioners claimed against the bank in negligence. The bank denied any duty of care. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Contempt of Court, Banking

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.192618