The following Dispute Resolution guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Note: this Practice Note should be read in conjunction with Practice Notes:
Disclosure—collateral use of documents—which deals with CPR 31.22(1)(a) permitting the subsequent use of documents read or referred to in public hearings
Use of confidential information in civil proceedings—which deals with the protection of confidential information and anonymisation to protect the identity of a party or witness
The general rule, and fundamental principle of common law, is that open justice requires public hearings. This was confirmed by the Supreme Court in Al Rawi v The Security Service. It went on to say that to have a private hearing requires the court to depart from the general rule and the question to that departure must be treated as one of principle, and as turning, not on convenience, but on necessity. As the Supreme Court identified in A v BBC, the courts have an inherent jurisdiction to determine how the principle of open justice should be applied.
Following a public consultation held in 2018 to clarify the principle of open justice, the introduction of SI 2019/342 (see News Analysis: CPR changes—6 April 2019) amended CPR 39 to confirm that a hearing may not be held in private, irrespective of the parties’ consent, unless and to the extent that the court decides that it must be
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