In the event that the applicant requires disclosure and inspection of a document held by a third party, and the disclosing party does not have control of the document by having a right to possess it, in most circumstances the most appropriate course of action would be to make an application for non-party disclosure under CPR rule 31.17.
The court may make an order for non-party disclosure if:
- the documents are likely to support the case of the applicant or adversely affect the case of one of the other parties to proceedings; and
- disclosure is necessary in order to dispose of the claim fairly or to save costs.
It is important to note that a court will not make an order for non-party disclosure unless both criteria are satisfied. Even if both criteria are satisfied, the court still has a discretion to decide whether it ought to order disclosure from a non-party.