High Court upholds block on disclosure rules

A High Court ruling has kept in place a block on new disclosure rules that would have opened up court files to the public for all cases.

At a court hearing this morning, Mr Justice Keith maintained an interim declaration until a judicial review on 2 November.

As reported on www.thelawyer.com (3 October), Schillings, representing the Law Society, won a last minute injunction against the Court Service on 29 September.

The block stops the new disclosure rules, that would have made documents such as pleadings and defence of a claim available to the public, applying to court documents filed before 2 October.

Law Society chief executive Desmond Hudson said: “This decision protects the privacy of many people in old disputes including employment, blackmail and discrimination cases.

“Many of these cases were settled before reaching court with people filing statements on the understanding that they would remain confidential.”

Media organisations, led by The Times’ head of litigation Gill Philips, had lobbied to lift the ban on the retrospective application of the new rules. Philips instructed media specialist Andrew Caldecott QC at One Brick Court.

Schillings founder Keith Schilling, with associate Gideon Benaim, advised the Law Society. They instructed barristers Richard Spearman QC at 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square and Jonathan Barnes at 5 Raymond Buildings.