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Fiona v Privalov

19 January 2007, HC (QB Division) Steel J

Court: High Court
Date of Judgment: 19.01.07
Justin Higgo

The respondents to a freezing order application sought disclosure of material that they alleged had been obtained unlawfully and an adjournment of the freezing order application pending disclosure, contending, inter alia, that were the court to grant a freezing order, it would be condoning the collection of evidence by illegal means. Prior to the issue of the application, the applicants had produced redacted copies of reports prepared by private investigators.

Steel J dismissed the application for disclosure. He took as his starting point the principle that the power to order disclosure should be exercised sparingly and only for such documents as can be shown to be necessary for the fair disposal of the application. He held that even if illegal activity had taken place and had been concealed form the Court, it would not preclude the granting of relief (Moody v Cox & Hutt [1917] 2 Ch 71). The further held that the evidence obtained in the investigation had not been relied upon for the purposes of the freezing order and, in any event, admitting illegally obtained evidence does not as such condone any illegal activity (Memory Corporation v Sidhu No 2 [2000] 1 WLR 1443.)

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