EMI v Pandit: ChD 3 Dec 1974

The making of an order allowing the plaintiff’s to execute a search on the other party’s premises is in effect part of the process of discovery. Templeman J discussed the making of such orders ex parte: ‘if it appears that the object of the plaintiffs’ litigation will be unfairly and improperly frustrated by the very giving of the notice which is normally required to protect the defendant, there must be exceptional and emergency cases in which the Court can dispense with the notice and, either under power in the rules to dispense with notice or by the exercise of its inherent jurisdiction make such a limited Order, albeit ex paste, as will give the plaintiffs the relief which they would otherwise be unable to obtain. In the present case I am satisfied that, if notice were given to the defendant, that would almost certainly result in the immediate destruction of the articles and information to which the plaintiffs are entitled . .
I think it right to stress that, in my judgment the kind of order which is sought now can only be justified by a very strong case on the evidence and can only be justified where the circumstance are exceptional to this extent, that it plainly appears that justice requires the intervention of the Court in the manner which is sought and without notice, otherwise the plaintiffs may substantially be deprived of a remedy . .
it must be shown that irreparable harm will accrue, or that there is a high probability that irreparable harm may accrue to the plaintiffs, unless the particular form of relief now sought is granted to them’.


Templeman J


[1975] 1 WLR 302


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedAnton Piller v Manufacturing Processes Ltd CA 8-Dec-1975
Civil Search Orders possible
The plaintiff manufactured and supplied through the defendants, its English agents, computer components. It had reason to suspect that the defendant was disclosing its trade secrets to competitors. The court considered the effect of a civil search . .
CitedA J Bekhor and Co Ltd v Bilton CA 6-Feb-1981
The plaintiff had applied for disclosure of assets under the Rules of the Supreme Court in support of a Mareva freezing order. The rules were held not to provide any such power: disclosure of assets could not be obtained as part of discovery as the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 29 June 2022; Ref: scu.416370