It seems that further to the recent decisions in Green & Ors v SGI Legal LLP  EWHC B27 (Costs)and Parvez v Mooney Everett Solicitors Ltd  EWHC 62 (QB) that Courts were leaning towards a welcome obstruction to the unscrupulous influx of challenges we are seeing in the costs world by previous clients of a firm of solicitors, in judicially standing by firms who choose not to adhere to fishing expedition requests for copies of files.
This alliance in this regard appears to have wavered in light of Swain v JC & A Ltd  EWHC B3 (Costs) wherein Master Brown ruled that section 68 of the Solicitors Act 1974 provided the Court with the discretion to order the delivery up of copies of the documents sought, “whether or not a proprietary right in the relevant documents has been established”.
Whilst this is not a decision welcomed by Claimant firms, what is appreciated is the acknowledgment of Master Brown that the time has come for further guidance:-
“A large number of similar applications have been made in the SCCO. As I understand it, whilst many are substantially resolved by the parties, there are significant differences in approach to the issue of the court’s jurisdiction to make the orders sought….it does seem to me that authoritative guidance on the point may assist.”
At present there are seemingly as many decisions in one camp as there are in the other, we therefore expect a more authoritative decision in early course and we will of course keep you updated in this regard. Watch this space!