Q&As

Paragraph 8.4 of the Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence states ‘the parties should supply promptly, at this stage and throughout, whatever relevant information or documentation is reasonably requested’. What is considered ‘reasonable’ in this context? Is there any relevant case law on this provision?

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Produced in partnership with James Tunley of Lamb Chambers
Published on LexisPSL on 14/08/2018

The following Dispute Resolution Q&A Produced in partnership with James Tunley of Lamb Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Paragraph 8.4 of the Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence states ‘the parties should supply promptly, at this stage and throughout, whatever relevant information or documentation is reasonably requested’. What is considered ‘reasonable’ in this context? Is there any relevant case law on this provision?
  • Disclosure under the pre-action protocol
  • Parameters of disclosure
  • Reasonableness
  • Further reading

Disclosure under the pre-action protocol

In addition to paragraph 8.4 of the Pre-action Protocol for Professional Negligence (the Protocol), paragraph 10 of the Protocol deals with documents in more detail. It states that the early exchange of relevant information is encouraged so that issues in dispute can be clarified or resolved. The claimant should provide ‘key documents’ with the letter of claim, as should the professional with the letter of response, and both parties should provide any other documents that are reasonably requested.

Paragraph 10 of the Protocol also states that the Protocol should not be used to justify a fishing expedition by either party and that no party is obliged to disclose any document which a court could not order them to disclose under CPR 31.16.

Parameters of disclosure

Clearly, the document requests must be relevant. The scope of disclosure, and therefore any request for documents, should not go wider than CPR 31.6, requiring disclosure of the documents on which the party relies, which adversely affect either side's case or which support the other side's case.

It is also worth bearing in mind CPR 31.16(3)(d) and the circumstances where it would be desirable for the court to make an order for pre-action disclosure. Those a

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