Peter Knox KC (instructed by Leverets Group) for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Defendants (the CS Deal Team)
This is my judgment on applications that have centred on the Republic’s disclosure of documents. The applications seek a range of orders. The application by Credit Suisse includes a request for “unless” orders, with the sanction of striking out where there is a failure to comply. It also includes requests for declarations that there have been defaults.
The parties who have made applications criticise the Republic’s disclosure generally. However, and sensibly, there has been focus at this hearing on what the parties contend to be the most important and significant areas.
The trial of this multi-party litigation will commence in October with 12 weeks allowed.
The trial date is variously in the interests of all parties, as many recognise for differing reasons. Mr Lau, for the Pallas Parties, puts any adjournment of the trial in terms of unfairness; and I understand that characterisation. That the trial will commence in October and not later is also in the interests of the overriding objective, including the court’s consideration of the position of other litigants in other cases.
The litigation is of enormous importance to all parties. It is complex, high value litigation, with issues that ask not just what happened and why but who knew what when and also where there was honesty and where there was not. The exercise of all parties giving disclosure of relevant documents was always going to be vast. The deadline for disclosure has now passed after earlier extensions. Witness statements and expert reports are under preparation. Each team of solicitors and counsel is working hard, none more than the Republic’s.
The deadline for disclosure has been an important discipline, but the complexity of the case and some of its international aspects has meant that disclosure has had to be taken in stages.
This has involved addressing some challenges as they have arisen and where they were not expected. It is one of the aspects of the case that has required more time to case management than in many cases. I wish to acknowledge the professionalism of all firms of solicitors who have been involved.
More disclosure may yet be required from any party; and the fact that the duties to give disclosure are continuing duties, continuing up to and through trial, is of particular relevance in this case.
The Court’s concern, front and centre, is that any trial is a fair trial. This is what the parties and the public are entitled to; and it is what the rule of law requires.
The Court is pleased to be trusted with the resolution of important international disputes such as the present. These disputes can involve States, companies and individuals. Trust in the Court is earned and, in every case, the Court must continue to earn it. It is a trust based on the delivery of a fair, independent hearing and decision. And one of the things that the Court insists on to achieve a fair decision is disclosure of relevant documents.