National Policing Improvement Agency v Total Downstream UK PLC2 and others is one of the few reported decisions on CPR 5.4C(4), which allows a non-party to obtain copies of documents on the court fi le without the court’s permission. In this case, a party applied to restrict or block access by a non-party to a statement of case and the High Court ruled that a non-party would not be entitled to obtain a copy of the statement of case.
The application was made during the course of a claim arising from a major incident at the Buncefi eld Oil Storage Depot in 2005. In order to plead their cases properly, the parties wished to refer to certain confi dential matters pertaining to the National Policing Improvements Agency (NPIA) in their statements of case. They would be unable to do so if copies of the statements of case were made available to non-parties, as this would put confi dential information into the public domain. Accordingly, one of the parties made an application under CPR 5.4C(4)(a) to block or restrict access by non-parties to the statements of case.
The judge considered that the parties were justifi ed in seeking to keep matters concerning the NPIA confi dential. He therefore ordered that non-parties could not obtain copies of the statements of case in the proceedings. However, the judge acknowledged that circumstances could arise in the future (of which the court was not currently aware) whereby disclosure of the statements of case to a non-party would be justifi able. Accordingly, he ordered that any person wishing to apply for a further order to produce a statement of case in these proceedings should make an application to the court and serve that application on the parties.