Muddled Disclosure in the Business and Property Courts

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The recent judgment in Lloyds Developments Ltd v Accor Hotel Services UK Ltd [2024] EWHC 1238 (TCC) addresses issues in disclosure subject to Practice Direction (PD) 57AD. Here are the key points summarised:

  1. Disclosure Dispute:
    • The Claimant disclosed a PDF run of redacted WhatsApp messages in a “muddled or jumbled form”, prompting the need for a further review. A disagreement arose between the parties over who should review the unredacted documents.
    • The Defendant also requested a witness statement explaining the creation of the PDF, as per PD 57AD.17.1(5). While the Claimant was content to provide details about message searches, they resisted explaining the creation of the “jumbled” PDF document.
    • The Defendant further sought disclosure of documents concerning funding referred to in witness statements under PD 57AD.21.
  2. Re-Review of WhatsApp Messages:
    • The court ordered the unredacted WhatsApp messages to be re-reviewed by an independent law firm jointly instructed by the parties, at the Claimant’s cost.
  3. Proportionate Disclosure:
    • The court ruled that the order sought by the Defendant to provide a further witness statement on the creation of the PDF fell within the scope of PD 57AD.17.1(5), as it was relevant, useful, and proportionate to understand the document’s production.
  4. Declined Disclosure Request:
    • However, the court declined the request for disclosure of documents referred to in a witness statement, noting that the documents concerning funding had no probative value in the litigation.

In summary, the court’s ruling underscores the importance of thorough disclosure and impartial document review processes in legal proceedings. While reaffirming the need for transparency and fairness, the decision also highlights the court’s discretion in determining the reasonableness and proportionality of disclosure requests.

The full judgment can be found here: Lloyds Developments Ltd v Accor Hotel Services UK Ltd [2024] EWHC 1238 (TCC) (08 May 2024) (

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