||All England Reporter
|| All ER (D) 260 (Oct)
||Queen's Bench Division (Technology and Construction Court)
||James Cross QC (instructed by Beale & Co) for PF.
||Jessica Stephens (instructed by the Treasury Solicitor) for the Secretary of State.
||Adam Constable (instructed by Wragge & Co) for AMEC.
||23 October 2006
Disclosure and inspection of documents - Disclosure against persons not parties to proceedings - Jurisdiction - Factors relevant to exercise of discretion - Whether disclosure ought to be ordered - Civil Procedure Rules 1998, CPR 31.17(3)(b).
Although 'likely' in the context of CPR31.17(3)(a), and applications for disclosure against non-parties, was to be interpreted in the same was as 'likely' in the context of CPR31.16(3)(a) and (b), and applications for early disclosure, authorities concerning CPR31.16(3)(d) were not relevant to CPR31.17(3)(b), notwithstanding the similarities between those provisions. Most cases under CPR31.17(3)(b) were likely to involve considerations such as whether the documents added significantly to that which was already known or whether the likely benefits of disclosure justified the expense. However, CPR31.17(3)(a) and (b) were necessary, not sufficient conditions to the ordering of disclosure. In some cases, the court might need to strike a balance between the applicant's need for access and some other competing interest such as public interest immunity or the respondent's legitimate interest in keeping them private. Privacy did not provide immunity from disclosure, but the court was entitled to consider whether it was necessary to infringe a person's privacy in order to enable a party to legal proceedings to prosecute his case. Although the scope of the documents that a non-party might be required to disclose was wider than the documents that a non-party might be required to produce in response to a witness summons under CPR34.2, the court had to take great care not to impose a heavy burden on non-parties.
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