Memory Corporation v Sidhu (No 2): CA 3 Dec 1999

Where a party applied to court for an ex parte order, counsel had direct duties to the court, and also the supporting legal team and clients had continuing and overlapping duties. There was little to be gained by trying to analyze these things too closely to apportion blame. Here counsel had applied to and misadvised the court on the practice, and documents produced were unreliable and possibly from an unlawful source. Where a defending party risked contempt proceedings, and was ordered to file affidavit evidence in respect of that matter, any claim for privilege against self-incrimination should be made before the affidavit is made. It was inappropriate to be asked first to file the affidavit, and then to ask the court to inspect and decide. The privilege was available to be exercised in contempt proceedings within the same proceedings as the main action.
Mummery LJ said that: ‘It cannot be emphasised too strongly that in an urgent without notice hearing for a freezing order as well as for a search order or any other form of interim injunction, there is a high duty to make full, fair and accurate disclosure of material information to the court and to draw the court’s attention to significant factual, legal and procedural aspects of the case. It is the particular duty of the advocate to see that the correct legal procedures and forms are used, that a written skeleton argument and properly drafted order are prepared by him personally and lodged with the court before the oral hearing, and that at the hearing the court’s attention is drawn by him to unusual features of the evidence adduced, to the applicable law and to the formalities and procedure to be observed.’
Robert Walker LJ discussed the apparent gathering of evidence by unlawful means and said that this has not in general led to its exclusion under the English law of evidence. It was far from obvious that concerns of this nature ‘should be added to the heavy responsibilities already undertaken by lawyers who are making a without notice application, except perhaps in circumstances where the evidence in question is of central importance to the application’. Even when the evidence is of central importance, for example evidence relating to the sale of contraband goods in a case of piracy of intellectual property rights, trap orders and other conduct involving impersonation or deception have been commonplace in the Chancery Division for a century or more, and do not seem to have attracted censure.


Mummery LJ, Robert Walker LJ


Times 15-Feb-2000, Gazette 27-Jan-2000, Times 03-Dec-1999, [2000] EWCA Civ 9, [2000] 1 WLR 1443




England and Wales


On Appeal fromMemory Corporation Plc and Another v Sidhu ChD 21-May-1999
Where counsel proposing an asset freezing order fails to mention a case relevant to the issue, the order need not thereby be discharged. This is as against a failure to disclose a material fact, which would lead to a discharge of the order. . .
ApprovedDubai 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:

See AlsoMemory Corporation Plc, Datrontech Hong Kong Limited v Sukhbir Singh Sidhu, Sunsar Limited ChD 3-Nov-1999
. .
CitedJohn Louis Carter Fourie v Allan Le Roux and others CA 7-Mar-2005
The defendant’s company in South Africa had become insolvent and the claimant had recovered judgment for arrears of rent. They obtained a freezing order against the defendant. The defendant appealed saying the court did not have jurisdiction, and . .
CitedFourie v Le Roux and others HL 24-Jan-2007
The appellant, liquidator of two South African companies, had made a successful without notice application for an asset freezing order. He believed that the defendants had stripped the companies of substantial assets. The order was set aside for . .
CitedFranses v Al Assad and others ChD 26-Oct-2007
The claimant had obtained a freezing order over the proceeds of sale of a property held by solicitors. The claimant was liquidator of a company, and an allegation of wrongful trading had been made against the sole director and defendant. The . .
CitedTchenguiz and Others v Imerman CA 29-Jul-2010
Anticipating a refusal by H to disclose assets in ancillary relief proceedings, W’s brothers wrongfully accessed H’s computers to gather information. The court was asked whether the rule in Hildebrand remained correct. W appealed against an order . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Litigation Practice, Human Rights, Contempt of Court

Updated: 19 May 2022; Ref: scu.83628