Rank Film Distributors v Video Information Centre: CA 1980

The plaintiff film companies accused the defendants of pirating their films. They obtained Anton Piller orders which required the defendants to permit the plaintiffs to enter their premises to inspect and remove any unauthorised films, and three defendants were to disclose:
(a) cassette supplier and customer details;
(b) invoices; and
(c) the whereabouts of pirate cassettes where known.
Peremptory orders for discovery and interrogation required instant obedience and the defendants were informed by the Penal Notice on the order that disobedience would expose them to penal consequences.
Held: The order was extraordinary, and the party interrogated had no opportunity for legal advice before deciding whether to comply. Accordingly those parts of the orders requiring disclosure contrary to the well-established principle of privilege against self-incrimination were expunged.
Lord Russell of Killowen said that he would welcome legislation along the lines of section 31 of the Theft Act 1968: ‘[i]nasmuch as the application of the privilege in question can go a long way in this and other analogous fields to deprive the owner of his just rights to the protection of his property’.


Lord Justice Templeman, Lord Russell of Killowen


[1980] 2 All ER 273, [1982] AC 380


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 . .
Appeal FromRank Film Distributors v Video Information Centre HL 1-Mar-1981
The plaintiffs claimed large-scale copyright infringement, and obtained Anton Pillar orders. The House considered the existence of the privilege against self-incrimination where the Anton Piller type of order has been made. The Court of Appeal had . .
CitedSociedade Nacional de Combustatives de Angola UEE v Lundqvist CA 1990
Large quantities of crude oil had been sold at an undervalue by a dishonest consultant and his associates. A Mareva injunction had been granted. The defendant objected to being required to disclose the extent of his foreign assets saying that such . .
CitedGray v News Group Newspapers Ltd and Another; Coogan v Same ChD 25-Feb-2011
The claimants said that agents of the defendant had unlawfully accessed their mobile phone systems. The court was now asked whether the agent (M) could rely on the privilege against self incrimination, and otherwise as to the progress of the case. . .
CitedBeghal v Director of Public Prosecutions SC 22-Jul-2015
Questions on Entry must be answered
B was questioned at an airport under Schedule 7 to the 2000 Act, and required to answer questions asked by appropriate officers for the purpose set out. She refused to answer and was convicted of that refusal , contrary to paragraph 18 of that . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice

Updated: 08 May 2022; Ref: scu.416381