Aoot Kalmneft v Denton Wilde Sapte (A Firm): Merc 29 Oct 2001

The court ordered relief by way of disclosure against a third party: ‘In Norwich Pharmacal the information required was the identity of the wrongdoer (the applicant knew what wrong had been done but not who had done it) but I see no reason why the principle is limited to disclosure of the identity of an unknown wrongdoer and does not extend to information showing that he has committed the wrong. . The information held by [the respondent] may not conclusively reveal an alternate defendant to [one of the alleged wrongdoers] nor conclusively disclose who received any part of the prepayment moneys, but I am satisfied that there is a sufficient prospect that the information they hold will assist [the applicant] in its search for wrongdoers and the funds paid away . . to justify making the orders sought . . The potential advantages to [the applicant] of seeing this part of the jigsaw and the potential disadvantages of it being denied a sight of that part outweigh, in my view, any detriment to [the respondent].’
The claimant sought disclosure of documents held by the defendant solicitors for a company no struck from the company register.


His Honour Judge McGonigal


[2002] 1 Lloyds Rep 417, [2001] EWHC 1 (Mercantile)




England and Wales


CitedNorwich Pharmacal Co and others v Customs and Excise Commissioners HL 26-Jun-1973
Innocent third Party May still have duty to assist
The plaintiffs sought discovery from the defendants of documents received by them innocently in the exercise of their statutory functions. They sought to identify people who had been importing drugs unlawfully manufactured in breach of their . .
CitedUpmann v Elkan CA 5-Jun-1871
The defendant freight forwarding agent was innocently in possession of consignments of counterfeit cigars in transit to Germany through a London dock. The action was not for discovery, but for an order restraining the forwarder from releasing the . .

Cited by:

CitedMitsui and Co Ltd v Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd ChD 29-Apr-2005
Mitsui sought disclosure of documents from a third party under the rules in Norwich Pharmacal.
Held: Such relief was available ‘where the claimant requires the disclosure of crucial information in order to be able to bring its claim or where . .
CitedMohamed, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (No 1) Admn 21-Aug-2008
The claimant had been detained by the US in Guantanamo Bay suspected of terrorist involvement. He sought to support his defence documents from the respondent which showed that the evidence to be relied on in the US courts had been obtained by . .
CitedVarious Claimants v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Others ChD 12-Jul-2013
The claimants sought disclosure by the police of information relating to the phone hacking activities said to have been conducted by journalists engaged by the first defendant newspaper. They were wanting to make claims against the respondent, but . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commercial, Litigation Practice

Updated: 11 November 2022; Ref: scu.277366