UK: NON-PARTY ACCESS TO COURT DOCUMENTS

An article from Allen & Overy on 22nd October is concerned with a ruling from the Supreme Court that the court has far-reaching jurisdiction to allow non-parties access to court documents, but it will only allow such access where doing so furthers the principle of open justice.  The case involved an insurer which sued an asbestos manufacturer for contributions to pay-outs it had made for mesothelioma contracted from the manufacturer’s products.  The trial commenced, but before judgment the proceedings were settled.  Subsequently, an asbestos victims’ forum sought non-party access to the documents referred to at trial, as it believed that these documents would show the asbestos industry’s knowledge about the dangers of asbestos which would help with other (unspecified) claims.  The Court said the guiding principle for granting access must be that it furthers the principle of open justice, and that it was for claimant to demonstrate that this was the case – and showing a compelling case.  The firm warns that litigants should be aware of this risk of the release of documents whenever they are involved in litigation.

http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/non-party-access-to-court–documents.aspx

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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