Disclosure by a non-party—Rule 31.17
Disclosure by a non-party—Rule 31.17

The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Disclosure by a non-party—Rule 31.17
  • How to obtain documents from third parties
  • How to apply for a non-party disclosure order
  • Courts' approach to non-party disclosure applications
  • Costs of application and complying with the non-party disclosure order
  • Disclosing a non-party's documents
  • Collateral or subsequent use of documents disclosed by a non-party
  • Confidential information
  • Where the non-party is a party's solicitor
  • How to apply to search for a party's professional advisers' documents
  • more

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.

How to obtain documents from third parties

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:

  1. 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:

    1. Pre-action disclosure—requirements and the courts' approach and Pre-action disclosure—the application

    2. 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