Non-party disclosure or Norwich Pharmacal orders are used to obtain disclosure from parties not directly involved in proceedings where those parties may hold documents or information that reveal the wrongdoing of another person.
These applications to Court are often used to help a victim identify who the perpetrator or beneficiary of a fraudulent event may be, for example identifying from a bank account number who the account holder is (often in employee fraud investigations), or identifying who has leaked confidential information.
There are two routes to obtain disclosure from a non-party to proceeds or potential proceedings. This is via the procedure set out in rule 31.17 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (often supported by the Bankers Book Evidence Act for financial information from banks), however this may only be used where court proceedings are already underway.
The alternative route is via a Norwich Pharmacal application. Commonly, disclosure from non-parties (third parties) is required to assist in identifying a potential defendant or to obtain information required to properly set out its claim, in which circumstances CPR 31.17 is not available.
Tenet has experience of making Norwich Pharmacal applications to require banks to disclose information or documents held in relation to an account holder such as their name, address and bank statements. Not only does such an order allow the applicant to identify potential defendants but also allows it to trace funds assisting in recovery.
Examples of cases we have had involvement with include:
Key to any fraud claim is unravelling what events have taken place and by who. Key to that is often documents in the hands of others. Tenet is well placed to advise on the nuances of how a Court Order of this nature should be drafted to limit exposure to unexpected costs of the non-party providing disclosure and ensuring you do not have to repeat making applications to the same non-party.
To discover more about the world of financial crime and fraud please see our Fraud Hub.