A Norwich Pharmacal Order ("NPO") is traditionally described as a common law right which requires a respondent who is "mixed-up" in wrong doing (whether innocently or not), so as to facilitate that wrongdoing, to provide "full information" on the alleged wrongful act. As was made clear by Lord Woolf CJ in Ashworth Hospital Authority v MGN Limited (2002), an applicant must identify the purposes for which the information will be used if an order is made. Popplewell J noted in this case that: "This is important, because only if he does so can the Court consider whether it is to be used for a legitimate purpose; and because if disclosure is ordered, the permitted use is limited to the stated intended use which has been scrutinised and sanctioned by the Court. Such identification should be made by way of evidence, not submission". What was said to be required was, at the very least, a clear statement on affidavit of the applicants' intentions as to the use to which the disclosure would be put. There was no such statement here and the judge concluded that that was fatal to the application for the NPO.
Furthermore, the judge concluded on the evidence that the applicants would use the disclosed information to discredit the defendant to the main proceedings, thus giving them a litigation advantage and forcing the defendant into a settlement. That was not a legitimate purpose for seeking the NPO: "Such a collateral purpose is not one which engages the policy justification for the jurisdiction, which is "the strong public interest in allowing an applicant to vindicate his legal rights" in respect of the wrongdoing with which the respondent has become mixed up".