The Mareva injunction (also known also as a freezing order, Mareva order or Mareva regime), in Commonwealth jurisdictions, is a court order which freezes assets so that a defendant to an action cannot dissipate their assets from beyond the jurisdiction of a court so as to frustrate a judgment. It is named for Mareva Compania Naviera SA v International Bulkcarriers SA  2 Lloyd’s Rep 509, decided in 1975, although the first recorded instance of such an order in English jurisprudence was Nippon Yusen Kaisha v Karageorgis in 1975, decided very shortly before the Mareva decision; however, in the UK the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 now define a Mareva order as a “freezing” order. It is widely recognised in other common law jurisdictions and such orders can be made to have world-wide effect. It is variously construed as part of a court’s inherent jurisdiction to restrain breaches of its process.
It is not a security (Jackson v Sterling Industries Ltd), nor a means to pressure a judgment debtor (Camdex International Ltd v Bank of Zambia (No. 2)), nor does it confer a proprietary interest in the assets of the judgment debtor (Cretanor Maritime Co Ltd v Irish Marine Management Ltd). However, some authorities have treated the Mareva injunction as an order to stop a judgment debtor from dissipating his assets so as to have the effect of frustrating judgment, rather than the more strenuous test of requiring an intent to abuse court procedure. An example of the former would be paying off a legitimate debt (Iraqi Ministry of Defence v Arcepey Shipping Co SA), whereas an example of the latter would be hiding the assets in overseas banks on receiving notice of the action.