Whether a foreign director could be ordered to produce documents and information because he had been temporarily in England


The claimant obtained judgment against the defendant but the judgment debt has not been paid. The claimant obtained an order under CPR r71 to examine the foreign sole owner and director of the defendant and to order him to produce certain documents, and the defendant sought to have that order set aside. In Masri v Consolidated Contractors (see Weekly Update 30/09), the House of Lords held that the English courts do not have jurisdiction to order the examination of a foreign director of a debtor company under CPR r71.

However, in this case, the claimant argued that there was nothing to prevent an order being made against a director who is temporarily within the jurisdiction and Cooke J agreed with that argument. He accepted that Masri had said nothing at all about the situation where a non-resident was served within the jurisdiction. Although care should taken when making such an order generally, in this case, it would not be extravagant or exorbitant, especially since the director was not an independent person unconnected to the English litigation and judgment debt: "There is no threshold requirement of "exceptional circumstances" for an application of the kind made here, but [the director's] direct connection with [the defendant] and his interest in every element of its financial affairs and procurement of the transfers are exceptional in nature". Furthermore, no other foreign court would be likely to grant the relief being sought here. The defendant's application therefore failed.