Case number: QB-2021-001513
In the High Court of Justice
King’s Bench Division
Media and Communications List
5 December 2023
AEP and others
David Evans (as representative of The Labour Party)
Karie Murphy and others (named third parties)
UPON hearing from Leading Counsel for the Defendant and Counsel for the Named Third Parties (the Claimants having discontinued the Claim) at a continued costs and case-management hearing held in person on 5 December 2023 (“the December CCMC”);
AND UPON the Court having invited views from any members of the public or members of the press present, but no comment having been forthcoming (no members of the press apparently being in attendance);
AND UPON the Court having made, at a CCMC held in person on 3 October 2023 (“the October CCMC”), interim orders to uphold the confidentiality of certain information relating to the settlement between the Claimants and the Defendant in the instant proceedings;
AND UPON the Court having concluded that the settlement sums payable pursuant to the same should be treated in confidence, with information as to their amount or size being kept confidential from the public and from non-parties to this litigation (such conclusion being subject to review as set out below);
AND UPON the Court having reached the same conclusion (also subject to review as set out below) in respect of other sums (i) paid or payable by the Defendant to compromise legal claims and which (ii) it seeks or proposes to seek to recover from the Named Third Parties in these proceedings;
AND UPON the Court having concluded further that, so as to secure the minimum possible interference with the open justice principle, it should in any event be made clear in open court that the Defendant seeks, through its claims for damages and a contribution or indemnity, to recover settlement sums (unspecified in size and amount) from the Named Third Parties;
AND UPON the Defendant and the Named Third Parties consenting to the below order;
For the reasons given in an oral judgment delivered at the above hearing, it is ordered that:
- The Named Third Parties (and their legal advisors and agents) shall not hereafter without further order of the Court use, disclose or share the Confidential Information or the substance thereof (or any part thereof), save that they may use, disclose or share:
- any of the foregoing either (and only):
- for the purposes of these proceedings (including taking instructions for the purposes of the same), on terms that preserve its confidentiality; and/or
- as otherwise required by law, provided always that the Named Third Parties take all reasonable steps to ensure that any such use, disclosure or sharing is undertaken on terms that preserve the confidentiality of the information insofar as possible; and/or
b. the Non-Confidential Information.
2. For the purposes of this order, the following definitions shall apply:
- the ‘Confidential Information’ means any information going to or otherwise revealing the size or amount of any sum(s) paid or payable (whether on a contingent basis or otherwise) by the Defendant to:
- the Claimants in this case pursuant to the settlement agreement by which the Claimants’ claims against the Defendant were compromised, and/or
- any other person, in order to compromise legal claims, where the Defendant seeks to recover damages and/or a contribution or indemnity in respect of such sums from the Named Third Parties in these proceedings;
save in each case for the Non-Confidential Information; and
b. the ‘Non-Confidential Information’ means:
- the fact that settlement agreements were reached with the relevant parties or other persons (including, as applicable, by way of acceptance of offers to settle made under Part 36 CPR);
- the fact, where applicable, that certain of such agreements contain confidentiality provisions;
- the fact that sum(s) are payable pursuant to the same;
- any sum payable under the aforementioned settlement agreements (whether in respect of costs or otherwise) which has entered the public domain other than as a result of its disclosure, directly or indirectly, by one or more of the Named Third Parties and/or their agents;
- any other facts stated in open court at the October or December CCMCs.
3. Pursuant to CPR rule 5.4C(4):
- any further amended statements of case that the Defendant files in these proceedings (“the Unredacted Pleadings”) shall be placed into a confidential part of the Court file such that any request by a non-party to obtain a copy of the same from the Court records must be made by Application Notice under CPR 23 on notice to the parties;
- a version of the same that has been redacted so as to protect the confidentiality of the Confidential Information be placed on the publicly accessible Court file. The Defendant will provide any such redacted copies to the Court, in each case after providing a copy of the same to the Named Third Parties for comment.
4. The above order shall be subject to further consideration at the next procedural or substantive hearing in the case.
5. Any party or non-party have liberty to apply to set aside or vary this order.
6. A copy of this Order shall be published on the website of the Judiciary of England and Wales.
7. Costs in the case.