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Disputes – what if you don’t have all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle?



When you are in dispute with another party; you may often lack all the documents and information to enable you to evaluate the strength of your argument or evidence your version of events. The documents and information may be held by another party or even by those you are in dispute with.

Before launching headfirst into uncertainty with litigation those documents and information can be requested from the other party and, if they are unreasonably withheld, an application to the Court can be made early on for Pre-Action Disclosure.

Pre-action disclosure is a legal procedure that allows parties to a dispute to request disclosure of documents and other evidence before commencing legal proceedings. This process can help to clarify issues and may also facilitate early settlement of disputes.

The purpose of pre-action disclosure is to allow parties to make informed decisions about whether or not to pursue legal action. It can also help to identify and narrow the issues in dispute, thereby potentially saving time and money in the long run.

The pre-action disclosure process is governed by the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) in England and Wales. The CPR sets out the procedural steps that parties must follow in order to request and obtain pre-action disclosure.

In order to make a request for pre-action disclosure, the party requesting them must send a letter to the other party (or parties) setting out the documents or information that they require. This letter must be sent at least 14 days before commencing legal proceedings.

The other party then has a set amount of time to respond to the request. They must either provide the documents or information requested or explain why they are not able to do so.

If they refuse to provide the documents or information, the requesting party may apply to the court for an order for pre-action disclosure. The court will consider whether the request is reasonable and proportionate and may make an order requiring the other party to provide the documents or information.

It is important to note that pre-action disclosure is not a substitute for the full disclosure process that takes place during legal proceedings. It acts as a preliminary step that can help to clarify issues in dispute and potentially facilitate early settlement.

In some cases, pre-action disclosure may not be appropriate or necessary. For example, if the parties have already exchanged sufficient information to make informed decisions about whether or not to pursue legal action, or if the requested documents or information are not relevant to the disputed issues.

Overall, pre-action disclosure can be a useful tool in resolving disputes. By allowing parties to request and obtain relevant documents and information before starting legal proceedings, it can help to clarify the issues and help with early settlement.Need help or further information?

If you need further guidance on commercial litigation issues, please do not hesitate to contact Stuart Capstick at Glenville Walker via email or call us on 0151 305 9650.

This article is not intended to be interpreted as advice.

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