Practice and Procedure


PUBLISHED August 14, 2003

An order for disclosure of business accounts from a non-party was refused where those accounts were consolidated with the accounts for other businesses.Application by the defendant ('Ryder') for the disclosure of documents from a non-party ('K') to proceedings. In the main action Ryder was found liable to pay the claimant ('H') damages for losses arising from a road traffic accident. H claimed, among other things, damages for loss of earnings. Prior to the accident, H had contracted to sell his business to K at a date shortly after the accident took place. As part of the sale agreement H was to continue working for K on a self-employed basis for a year after the sale for ?700 a week and he subsequently claimed for that as part of his loss of earnings. The documents Ryder sought from K were the profit and loss accounts, and wages records for the business. They were required to enable accountants advising Ryder to ascertain whether K would have been able to pay H the agreed £700 a week. K made a witness statement explaining that he ran several business of the same nature, that the accounts for those businesses, including that formerly owned by H, were all kept together and that it would be impossible to separate out the figures sought by Ryder for H's former business.HELD: Documentation in the form indicated by K was highly unlikely to be of substantial value to either party without assistance from K or his accountants to separate the figures for H's former business. There was no means of ensuring or requiring such co-operation. It followed that the test under CPR 31.17(3)(a) for ordering disclosure was not satisfied.Application refused.