The family trust of Robert Tchenguiz has been refused permission to use documents disclosed in his proceedings against the Serious Fraud Office in litigation in the Guernsey Court of Appeal.
Among the documents for which permission was sought to release the undertaking under CPR 31.22 were several notes disclosed by Grant Thornton relating to the SFO’s earlier investigation of Mr Tchenguiz. Grant Thornton was not a party to the English action (nor to the Guernsey proceedings), but had given disclosure under CPR 31.17 as a non-party.
Eder J held that there was a strong argument that he should dismiss the application as an abuse of process (because it was brought so late following other similar applications), but that he would nevertheless deal with it on its merits.
The application was dismissed. Eder J held that there was a strong public policy in favour of protecting the integrity of criminal investigations and of protecting those such as Grant Thornton who provide information to investigatory authorities from wider dissemination of that information. Furthermore, the documents would be of limited utility in the Guernsey proceedings and there was a risk of injustice to Grant Thornton if a selection of its documents could be used in those proceedings where it was not a party.
The judgment is here.
Simon Salzedo QC appeared for Grant Thornton, instructed by Simmons & Simmons LLP.