Prudential Assurance Co Ltd v Fountain Page Ltd: 1991

A party and his legal representatives receiving documents under a process of discovery is under an implied undertaking to use those documents for the purposes of those proceedings only. It is an obligation imposed by operation of law by virtue of the circumstances in which the document or information is obtained.
Hobhouse J said: ‘it is in my judgment a duty that is owed to the court and which can be enforced by the court’ and ‘Breach of the duty amounts to a contempt of court, which may be trivial or serious depending on the circumstances. The court has the power wholly or partially to release the recipient from the duty, or undertaking, and to permit use to be made of the documents nevertheless.’


Hobhouse J


[1991] 1 WLR 756

Cited by:

CitedTaylor and Others v Director of The Serious Fraud Office and Others HL 29-Oct-1998
The defendant had requested the Isle of Man authorities to investigate the part if any taken by the plaintiff in a major fraud. No charges were brought against the plaintiff, but the documents showing suspicion came to be disclosed in the later . .
CitedGelber v Griffin FD 22-Nov-2006
Complaint was made that a party had disclosed confidential material received through disclosure to a third party.
Held: There was an implied duty of confidence arising in the disclosure process. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 30 April 2022; Ref: scu.211379