Third Party Disclosure and Jurisdiction

Third Party Disclosure and Jurisdiction

Following a significant court decision, third party disclosure orders could be served on Turks and Caicos Island (TCI) businesses and other organizations by English courts. ParrisWhittaker’s commercial litigation attorneys, who have won awards in the past, have extensive experience representing individuals and businesses that have been served with disclosure and other orders within the TCI and the jurisdictions that surround it.

A third party disclosure order is an one which requires a person or organisation who isn’t party to the litigation to disclose information or documents in its possession. The Norwich Pharmacal Order is one example, and it can be used against a party who is not guilty of any crime or misconduct.

English courts have the authority to order the disclosure of documents against a third party outside of England and Wales, according to the Court of Appeal, but it appears that this authority is constrained by the actual location of the documents. In the TCI, the ruling has significant influence over the courts.

Background

A Russian claimant who ran a fertilizer company requested that the electronic documents held by the English law firm Forsters LLP be made available to a third party. The documents were relevant to his claim that he owned the Russian business. However, the UK law firm claimed that the appellants, who were trustees, should receive the disclosure order, not the law firm, because they held the documents on their behalf.

The trustees were Cyprus-based companies, and the court allowed the application for third-party disclosure to be served on the trustees outside of their jurisdiction. The question of whether the court had the authority to order disclosure against a third party outside of England and Wales was at the heart of the appeal.

The trustees argued that the English court never had the authority to require a third party outside the jurisdiction to produce documents. In order to determine the overall goal of the law, the court conducted an insightful and in-depth analysis of the legal framework and previous case law. It also said that English law is usually thought to have no effect outside of England.

However, the UK Parliament occasionally explicitly states or implies that legislation applies to individuals anywhere in the world. Even if a person is outside the court’s jurisdiction, depending on the circumstances, the matter before the court could be regarded as within the jurisdiction.

Even though the trustees were not located in England, the crucial fact in this case was that the documents in question were there. The judge refused to accept the fact that the electronic storage of the documents was irrelevant. The documents were sent to England so the trustees could be advised, and some of that actually took place in the UK.

The documents did not just happen to be in the UK, and the territoriality principle had little or no application in this case. The trustees accepted the risk of being subject to an order for production by sending the documents to England, and falling under its court jurisdiction.

The court was competent to issue the order for the trustees’ documents to be disclosed; and an order for service of the application for the order on the trustees outside the jurisdiction.

What does it imply?

The ruling demonstrates that even if the relevant party is located outside of the English jurisdiction, service of a third party disclosure application is not completely prohibited. However, in this particular instance, the location of the documents was more important than the actual party.

A disclosure order may legally be issued against any individual, business, or other organization sending information and documents to a law firm or anyone else in England and Wales.