Norwich Pharmacal Orders – the basics

A Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) is an order which allows a party (applicant) to apply to the Court for another party (respondent) to disclose specific documents or information. The respondent is unlikely to be a party to the proceedings but must be involved in the wrongdoing in some way even if innocently.

NPOs will be granted by the Court where it is essential for the interests of justice. Orders may be granted to identify a defendant or to obtain information to help establish a claim and can be granted at any time in the proceedings.

Although CPR 31.16 deals with pre-action disclosure from a likely party and CPR 31.17 deals with disclosure of documents against a non party (and both may suit your requirements) an NPO is different as it can be made against a party who is not likely to be a party to the claim, or where the respondent is innocently mixed up in the claim.

The applicant may be required to give undertakings to the court in damages and also will usually to pay the respondent’s legal costs and costs of disclosure. The applicant will require consent if the information or documents disclosed are to be used for purposes other than that of the proceedings in which it was disclosed.

Where an application for an NPO is required before a claim is issued, CPR 8 should be followed to make the application. To do this complete claim form N208, draft a Witness Statement, file the claim form and evidence with the Court (with Court fee), serve the Claim Form and evidence, await directions, where the order is granted the sealed Order should be served on the respondent.

Where a claim has been issued or the application is likely to be uncontested the application should be made under CPR 23. To do this complete application notice form N244 draft a Witness Statement, draft the Order, file Application Notice, evidence, draft order and Court fee with the Court, serve the above on the respondent, attend the Court hearing, serve sealed Order on the respondents.

By Michael Coyle at Lawdit Solicitors.

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