Compagnie Financiere du Pacifique v Peruvian Guano Co: CA 1882

Brett LJ defined the test to identify which documents are relevant for disclosure in court proceedings: ‘It seems to me that every document relates to the matters in question in the action, which not only would be evidence upon any issue, but also which, it is reasonable to suppose, contains information which may – not which must – either directly or indirectly enable the party requiring the affidavit either to advance his own case or to damage the case of his adversary. I have put in the words ‘either directly or indirectly’, because, as it seems to me, a document can properly be said to contain information which may enable the party requiring the affidavit either to advance his own case or to damage the case of his adversary, if it is a document which may fairly lead him to a train of inquiry, which may have either of these two consequences: the question upon a summons for a further affidavit is whether the party issuing it can shew, from one of the sources mentioned in Jones v Monte Video Gas Co (1880) 5 QBD 556, that the party swearing the first affidavit has not set out all the documents falling within the definition which I have mentioned and being in his possession or control.
I agree that the party issuing the summons for a further affidavit is bound by the description given in the sources of information mentioned in Jones v Monte Video Gas Co: that is to say, he is bound to a certain extent: I do not think that he would be bound absolutely by every description of their contents if the Court can see, from the nature of them, that the description of them is not or may not reasonably be correct. I do not think that the Court is bound any more on the second summons than on the first to accept absolutely everything which the party swearing the affidavit says about the documents, but the Court is bound to take his description of their nature. The question must be, whether from the description either in the first affidavit itself or in the list of documents referred to in the first affidavit or in the pleadings of the action, there are still documents in the possession of the party making the first affidavit which, it is not unreasonable to suppose, do contain information which may, either directly or indirectly, enable the party requiring the further affidavit either to advance his own case or to damage the case of his adversary. In order to determine whether certain documents are within that description, it is necessary to consider what are the questions in the action: the Court must look, not only at the statement of claim and the plaintiffs’ case, but also at the statement of the defence and the defendants’ case.’

Brett LJ
(1882) 11 QBD 55
England and Wales
Cited by:
CitedSchetky v Cochrane and the Union Funding Co 1918
(Court of Appeal in British Columbia) The court ordered oral discovery to be given to a defendant of negotiations between the plaintiff and another defendant in the action but held that on the trial there would be no higher right to use the . .
CitedRush and Tompkins Ltd v Greater London Council and Another HL 1988
Use of ‘Without Prejudice Save as to Costs”
A sub-contractor sought payment from the appellants under a construction contract for additional expenses incurred through disruption and delay. The appellants said they were liable to pay the costs, and were entitled to re-imbursement from the . .
CitedMartin and Others Gabriele v Giambrone P/A Giambrone and Law QBNI 5-Mar-2013
The claimants had made investments through their solicitors, the defendants. The investments failed. The defendants were said to have made a foul and threatening posting on facebook about the claimant after failure in earlier proceedings. The . .
CitedBokor-Ingram v Bokor-Ingram CA 4-Mar-2009
W sought to re-open the financial settlement on her divorce. Within a few days of the order, H resigned and took on a new employment at a significant increase in pay. That had not been disclosed. . .
CitedRobinson v Robinson (Disclosure) Practice Note CA 1982
The court considered the duty of parties in finacial relief proceedings to give full disclosure.
Held: In proceedings for ancillary relief, there was a duty, both under the rules and by authority, on the parties to make full and frank . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Leading Case

Updated: 02 November 2021; Ref: scu.253699