Marriott v Chamberlain: CA 26 May 1886

In an action for libel the defendant pleaded that the libel was true. The substance of the libel was that the plaintiff had fabricated a story to the effect that a certain circular letter purporting to be signed by the defendant had been sent round to the defendant’s competitors in business. The plaintiff had in speeches and letters stated that he had seen a copy of the alleged letter, that two of such letters were in existence in the possession respectively of a firm of bankers and a firm of manufacturers at Birmingham, and that his informant in the matter was a solicitor of high standing at Birmingham. In interrogatories administered by the defendant the plaintiff was asked to state the name and address of his informant, in whose hands he had seen the copy of the letter, and the names and addresses of the persons to whom the letter had been sent, and in whose possession the two letters existed; but he refused to do so on the ground that he intended to call those persons as his witnesses at the trial.
Held: that the defendant was entitled to discovery of the names and addresses of such persons as being a substantial part of facts material to the case upon the issue on the plea of justification.
The right to interrogate although not confined to facts directly in issue, extends to any facts the existence or non-existence of which is relevant to the existence or non-existence of the facts directly in issue.
Lord Esher MR
(1886) 17 QBD 151, [1886] UKLawRpKQB 89
England and Wales
Cited by:
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.
Updated: 10 October 2021; Ref: scu.416376