Norwich Pharmacal Orders

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Norwich Pharmacal Orders

1. Norwich Pharmacal Order

A Norwich Pharmacal Order is a specific type of court order which requires a respondent to disclose certain documents or information to the applicant. Norwich Pharmacal Orders are commonly used to identify wrongdoers by obtaining information from a third party which may help the applicant to ascertain the true identity of the wrongdoer. A Norwich Pharmacal Order may also assist the applicant in identifying the full nature of the wrongdoing and help clarify the exact nature of that wrongdoing prior to any applications being made to court for injunctive relief.
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2. How to apply for a Norwich Pharmacal Order

On seeking to obtain a Norwich Pharmacal Order the applicant must firstly consider whether or not the matter is urgent or not. If the matter is not urgent then prior to seeking a Norwich Pharmacal Order the applicant may write to the potential respondent seeking voluntary disclosure of the information and setting out the reasons why it is sought. If the respondent is unable or unwilling to comply then the applicant may seek to obtain a Norwich Pharmacal Order by making an application to the court. In some circumstances the respondent will invite the applicant to apply for a Norwich Pharmacal Order so as the respondent can be relieved of its obligations to withhold such information due to privilege or data protection by way of example. In such circumstances, seeking a Norwich Pharmacal Order should be relatively straightforward and the applicant will have to provide for the respondent’s costs in attending the proceedings and complying with the Norwich Pharmacal Order.
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3. Examples of a Norwich Pharmacal Order

A Norwich Pharmacal Order is a special type of court application which requires the respondent to disclose documentation or information to the applicant. A Norwich Pharmacal Order is most commonly used in order to identify a wrongdoer by obtaining information from a third party who has become mixed up in the wrongful acts of others. By way of an example an applicant may seek to obtain a Norwich Pharmacal Order where the wrongdoer is hiding behind a third party such as an internet provider, internet hosting services, a bank, and/or various social media platforms. However, this is not an exhaustive list and any party seeking a Norwich Pharamcal Order should obtain expert legal advice.
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4. Norwich Pharmacal Order definition

A Norwich Pharmacal Order is a court order for disclosure of documents or information against third parties. A Norwich Pharmacal Order differs from standard applications for pre-action disclosure. The key difference is that under the Civil Procedure Rules an application for pre-action disclosure is made where it is likely that the respondent is going to be a party to the proceedings. Another key difference is that under the Civil Procedure Rules such an application can only relate to disclosure of documentation whereas under a Norwich Pharmacal Order, the application can also relate to the disclosure of information.
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5. Norwich Pharmacal Order costs

In terms of the costs of a Norwich Pharmacal Order it is normal that the applicant bear the respondent’s costs of the application. It is important that any applicant bears this in mind when making a Norwich Pharmacal Order against a third party. The applicant may be able to recover the costs of the Norwich Pharmacal Order as damages in subsequent proceedings against any wrongdoer.
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6. Norwich Pharmacal Orders a quick guide

When applying for a Norwich Pharmacal Order the applicant must consider whether the application is urgent or not. If it is not urgent, then the first port of call is to write to the potential respondent seeking voluntary disclosure of the information/documentation. If the respondent is unable or unwilling to comply then the applicant must seek a Norwich Pharmacal Order from the court. However, seeking the cooperation of a respondent even in circumstances where it cannot provide the information (for example due to privacy concerns) can still be a useful approach as the correspondence can be put before the court for in order to support the application for a Norwich Pharmacal Order.

Often, for privilege, data protection or other reasons, the respondent will invite the applicant to apply for a Norwich Pharmacal Order so that the respondent can be relieved of its obligations to withhold such information. In such circumstances, as described above, the Norwich Pharmacal application should be relatively straightforward. However, the applicant will have to provide for the respondent’s costs in the proceedings and any associated costs arising from the respondent’s costs of complying with the Norwich Pharmacal Order.
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7. Norwich Pharmacal Order evidence

Before granting a Norwich Pharmacal Order the court will need to be satisfied that there is evidence that the respondent (whether innocently or not) was mixed up in the wrongdoing. An example of this is an application made against a telecommunications company for disclosure of the wrongdoer’s contact details in circumstances where it had not been possible to locate that particular individual and as such, a Norwich Pharmacal Order was required. As a general rule a Norwich Pharmacal Order is not available against individuals who may at a later stage be called as a witness in proceedings. The is known as the “mere witness” rule.
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8. Have you received an application seeking a Norwich Pharmacal Order?

Depending on whether or not the application for a Norwich Pharmacal Order is urgent or not the first port of call is often for the applicant to write to the potential respondent seeking voluntary disclosure of the information/documentation and setting out the reasons why it is sought. At that stage the respondent must consider whether or not it is unable or unwilling to comply with the applicant’s request.
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