The CPR’s take on documents

When it comes to disclosure, what counts as a ‘document’?

It may surprise you but the definition of a document is a wide one.  It is outlined in CPR 31.4 as ‘anything in which information of any description is recorded’.

This includes a lot of different types of information such as (a non-exhaustive list) voice recordings, handwritten notes, videos or information found on a hard drive. All of which would be considered a ‘document’ for disclosure purposes.

CPR 31.8 also confirms that the duty to disclose is limited to documents that are or have been within a party’s control. The control of a document is then further broken down as being in or previously in its physical control, having or having had a right to possession of it or having or having had a right to inspect or take copies of it.

These are two of the basic elements that need to be considered when a disclosure process is underway. In reality, the type of disclosure exercise or scope of disclosure will be determined by the court, either by an order or determined by specific guidance given by certain courts. These will determine the types of searches, the scope of searches and timings for searches and discovery. However, the definition of a ‘document’ remains unchanged.

Navigating the world of disclosure and documents can be complex and not necessarily straightforward. Should you need any assistance, our dispute resolution team are here to help.


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