Kathryn Garbett & Robin Preston-Jones discuss confidentiality clubs.
Litigation is usually an open, public process. The Civil Procedure Rules allow for non-parties to access pleadings, judgments and orders from the court file in most circumstances. Hearings are usually open to journalists, interested third parties and/or curious tourists to attend.
Within the litigation process, parties are required to disclose all their relevant documents regardless of how confidential they are (with only legally privileged documents excluded). Adverse parties to whom such documents are disclosed are, ordinarily, free to share those documents within the broad legal team (including with client representatives, potential witnesses and experts) and use them for the purposes of the proceedings in which they are disclosed.
The appropriateness of such “open justice” is rarely questioned. Public access to the court room and the court file is based on the principle that not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done.
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