Hughes v Carratu International Plc: QBD 19 Jul 2006

The claimant wished to bring an action against the defendant enquiry agent, saying that it had obtained unlawful access to details of his bank accounts, and now sought disclosure of documents. The defendant denied wrongdoing, and said it had returned all papers to solicitors.
Held: The proposed respondents had not been fully candid, and a sufficient case was established to justify disclosure. ‘ there is reason to believe that there has been a serious breach of the criminal law. The enquiry agents who are suspected of that breach and who have been charged with it, appear to have been under the impression that the Respondent (and so presumably the Respondent’s client, the law firm), would not regard as unwelcome the receipt of the information which was obtained by those criminal means. This is not, apparently an isolated case. I infer that the law firm are aware of the present proceedings because I have been told that they asked for the file in order to protect their client’s claim to privilege, but they have not indicated any stance that they might be adopting towards the making of the order insofar as it might involve disclosure of their own identity. There has been no explanation as to how the enquiry agents can have been under so serious a misunderstanding as to the wishes of the Respondent that all information be obtained lawfully, given the Respondent’s repeated declarations of the importance they attach to compliance with the law. For these reasons I shall make the whole of the order sought by the Applicant. ‘


Tugendhat J


[2006] EWHC 1791 (QB)




Data Protection Act 1998, Civil Procedure Rules 31.16


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 . .
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 . .
CitedBlack v Sumitomo Corporation CA 3-Dec-2001
The claimants proposed pre-action discovery which was resisted.
Held: A purpose of pre-action disclosure is to assist those who need disclosure as a vital step in deciding whether to litigate at all or to provide a vital ingredient in the . .
CitedDubai Aluminium Co Ltd v Al Alawi and Others ComC 3-Dec-1998
The claimants had brought proceedings against their former sales manager for accepting bribes and secret commission from outsiders. In support of their claim the claimants had obtained a search and seizure order and a worldwide freezing injunction, . .

Cited by:

CitedL v L and Hughes Fowler Carruthers QBD 1-Feb-2007
The parties were engaged in ancillary relief proceedings. The Husband complained that the wife had sought to use unlawfully obtained information, and in these proceedings sought delivery up of the material from the wife and her solicitors. He said . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Information, Litigation Practice

Updated: 07 July 2022; Ref: scu.244008