Douglas, Zeta-Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Ltd, Hola Sa, Junco, The Marquesa De Varela, Neneta Overseas Ltd, Ramey: ChD 27 Jan 2003

The claimants sought an order striking out the defendants’ defence on the grounds that, by destroying documents, the possibility of a fair trial had been prejudiced.
Held: Refusing the order, save as to certain paragraphs of the defence, the court must distinguish between documents destroyed before action was commenced, and the destruction of documents after an action had been commenced in order to prejudice a trial. There was nothing here to suggest the latter, and no contempt of court had been established. To establish a contempt, the issues were whether the court rules had been transgressed, and whether a fair trial remained achievable. THe correct test is whether the destruction of documents amounted to an attempt to pervert the course of justice.


Sir Andrew Morritt V-C


Times 31-Jan-2003, [2003] EWHC 55 (Ch), Gazette 20-Mar-2003, [2003] 1 All ER 1087, [2003] EMLR 29




England and Wales


CitedArrow Nominees Inc and Another v Blackledge and Others CA 22-Jun-2000
A petition had been lodged alleging unfair prejudice in the conduct of the company’s affairs. The defendants alleged that when applying for relief under section 459, the claimants had attempted to pervert the course of justice by producing forged or . .
See AlsoDouglas, Zeta Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Limited (No 1) CA 21-Dec-2000
The first two claimants sold exclusive rights to photograph their wedding to the third claimant. A paparrazzi infiltrated the wedding and then sold his unauthorised photographs to the defendants, who now appealed injunctions restraining them from . .
CitedCordoba Shipping Co Ltd v National State Bank, Elizabeth, New Jersey (The Albaforth) CA 1984
A negligent misrepresentation was made in a telex sent from the United States but received and acted upon in England. The judge had set aside leave to serve the document out of the jurisdiction.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The transmission was . .

Cited by:

Appeal fromDouglas, Zeta-Jones, Northern and Shell Plc v Hello! Limited, Hola SA, Junco, The Marquesa De Varela, Neneta Overseas Limited, Ramey CA 12-Feb-2003
The claimants claimed infringement of the privacy of their wedding celebrations. They requested permission for service out of the jurisdiction to join Mr Ramey as defendant, saying he had been the one who had taken some of the photographs in New . .
CitedDouglas and others v Hello! Ltd and others (No 3) CA 18-May-2005
The principal claimants sold the rights to take photographs of their wedding to a co-claimant magazine (OK). Persons acting on behalf of the defendants took unauthorised photographs which the defendants published. The claimants had retained joint . .
CitedKJO v XIM QBD 7-Jul-2011
The claimant had, some 20 years previously, been convicted and sentenced for forgery of a will. The defendants, relatives, had ever since written to those with whom he had dealings to tell them of the conviction and facts. The claimant, unable to . .
CitedBilta (Uk) Ltd v Nazir and Others ChD 24-Nov-2010
The company had been wound up by the Revenue on the basis that it had been used for a substantial VAT fraud. The liquidators now sued those said to have participated. A defendant denied the jurisdiction because of a disputed arbitration agreement. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Contempt of Court

Updated: 07 June 2022; Ref: scu.178794