14th Nov 2013 | Articles

Simon Davenport QC reports on What is a ‘reasonable’ disclosure search? in the case of Atrium Training Services Ltd (In Liquidation)[2013] EWHC 2882 (Ch).

Simon appeared for the respondent liquidators in this matter regarding the obligationsunder an unless order requiring disclosure.

The liquidators had brought actions against the former company directors in respect of alleged fraudulent trading and trading whilst insolvent. There had been many documents that were potentially relevant for disclosure. The liquidators had thus proposed an e-disclosure method, to which the applicants had not objected. An e-disclosure document provider (U) scanned and uploaded hard copy documents into a database which was subsequently searched for relevant documents. U’s paralegals then produced a list of relevant documents. The court made an unless order requiring disclosure by a certain date, and the disclosure lists were served on time.

It then transpired that two categories of relevant documents were mistakenly missing from the liquidators’ disclosure list. The liquidators produced a supplementary listafter the disclosure date. The Court refused thecompany directors’ application to strike out the claim. It held that the primary obligation imposed on the liquidators by the order had been to conduct a reasonable search and list the relevant documents, namely those complying with CPR r.31.6, found in that search…..

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