March 6, 2017

Pre-action Disclosure - Attheraces v Ladbrokes (High Court)

Court rejects an application for pre-action disclosure

The applicants applied for pre-action disclosure under CPR r31.16. It was common ground that the requirement that the respondents would be parties to proceedings if they were issued was met where at least one of the respondents was likely to be a party. Nor was it essential to clearly specify the documents being sought (although it was, of course, important to do this). If the judge had been minded to grant the application, he would have allowed the applicants to "go back to the drawing board" to re-draft the order sought.

However, this was an example of a rare case where the application failed at the jurisdictional, rather than discretionary, stage.

The judge held that the strengths and weaknesses of the anticipated claims would not be materially changed if pre-action disclosure was granted. All an order would do would be to allow the applicants to plead more specifically what they could already plead. Nor would there be any savings of costs.