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Disclosure Of Names In Certain Proceedings

Volume 78: debated on Thursday 2 May 1985

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I beg to move amendment No. 22, in page 17, line 11, leave out from beginning to 'any' and insert

'any person to disclose such information as he has as to the identity of'.

With this it will be convenient to discuss Government amendments Nos. 23 and 24.

These amendments are designed to clarify the scope of the court's power to order disclosure. At present, the clause may be open to the interpretation that it contains a power only to require disclosure of names and addresses of persons who are otherwise identifiable by the pursuer—that is to say, where the person seeking to raise the action may have knowledge of an individual and all that is lacking is the name and address of that individual.

As hon. Members may appreciate, it is not our intention to have the power limited in this manner. We wish to cover the case where there is a known wrong which would be cause for a civil action—an easy example to think of would be video piracy—but where that action cannot be pursued because the names of the real wrongdoers are unknown, although it is likely that their identity is known to a third party or to a possible co-defender.

The Government do not intend that the pursuer should have to supply any further identification of the prospective witness or defender than he can do by reference to the wrong itself. The Government intend that he should be able to apply for an order requiring, for example, the retailer to provide the names and addresses of his suppliers without the pursuer having any knowledge as to the identity of the suppliers.

I commend the amendment to the House.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 23, in page 17, line 13 leave out 'would' and insert 'might'.

No. 24, in page 17, line 16, leave out 'would' and insert 'might'.— [The Solicitor-General for Scotland.]