Collateral use of documents in civil proceedings

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

  • Collateral use of documents in civil proceedings
  • Rule 31.22—the collateral purpose rule
  • Rule 31.22(1)(a)—documents read or referred to by the court
  • When can the use of documents read or referred to by the court be restricted or prohibited by the court?
  • Subsequent use of confidential documents read or referred to by court—Rule 31.22
  • Rule 31.22(1)(b)—permission from the court
  • Retrospective permission
  • Subsequent use of documents disclosed by a third party under CPR 31.17
  • What constitutes 'use' of the disclosed document?
  • Rule 31.22(2)—protecting disclosed documents
  • More...

Collateral use of documents in civil proceedings

This Practice Note provides guidance on what, if any, collateral or subsequent use can be made of documents disclosed during the course of civil proceedings and witness statements. This is often referred to as the ‘collateral purpose rule’ and is sought under CPR 31.22 and 32.12 in respect of witness statements. This Practice Note also offers guidance on how you can seek to obtain permission to collaterally use disclosed documents and how you can seek to prevent disclosed documents being used for any purpose other than the proceedings in which they were disclosed.

This Practice Note should be read in conjunction with:

  1. Disclosure—overview

  2. Inspection—overview

  3. Privilege—overview

For information on:

  1. the use of documents disclosed in criminal investigations or proceedings, in subsequent civil proceedings, see Practice Note: Civil fraud—frequently asked questions (FAQ)—What if there are parallel civil and criminal fraud proceedings?

  2. non-party access to court documents, see Practice Note: Public access to court documents and information in civil proceedings

Rule 31.22—the collateral purpose rule

Under CPR 31.22(1), a party to whom a document has been disclosed may generally only use that document for the purpose of the proceedings in which it was disclosed unless or until:

  1. the document has been read to or by the court, or referred to, at a hearing, which has been held in public (CPR 31.22(1)(a))

  2. the court gives

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