The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
This Practice Note looks at third party disclosure under CPR 31.17 and CPR 31.18 ie obtaining disclosure of documents from a non-party to the proceedings.
Note: you should also consider if the proceedings are subject to the disclosure pilot in the Business and Property Courts. For further guidance, see Practice Note: Business and Property Courts—the disclosure pilot scheme.
There may be instances when you know or suspect that a person or entity that is not a party to proceedings (a 'non-party' or 'third party') has documents in its possession that may be relevant to your client's case.
There are a number of ways in which you can seek to obtain any such documents. The procedure largely depends upon whether proceedings have started or not:
pre-action: CPR 31.18 carves out the court's power to order pre-action disclosure against a non-party—which would otherwise be excluded under CPR 31.16 and/or CPR 31.17. The method by which you can seek pre-action disclosure also depends on the status of the intended respondent. For further guidance on potential options, see Practice Notes:
Pre-action disclosure—requirements and the courts' approach and Pre-action disclosure—the application
Norwich Pharmacal orders (NPOs) and Norwich Pharmacal order—procedure for application. Note, however, NPOs require the respondent to be 'someone who has facilitated or become mixed up, innocently
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