On Monday, the High Court (Tipples J) dismissed an application by a high profile former Labour Party official to force the Labour Party to disclose the identity of the individuals it reasonably believes to be responsible for the leak of an internal report concerning the Party’s handling of antisemitism complaints. The leak has been widely reported in the press.
The leaked report contained personal data of Ms Oldknow which Ms Oldknow claims was private and/or confidential. Ms Oldknow alleges, further, that the report is defamatory of her in multiple respects. Ms Oldknow sought relief pursuant to the Court’s Norwich Pharmacal jurisdiction, alternatively as pre-action disclosure, and claimed that the relief was necessary to enable her to identify and bring proceedings against the person(s) responsible for the leak.
Tipples J rejected the application, holding that it was little more than a fishing expedition. Tipples J held that Norwich Pharmacal relief was not intended to require a respondent to express their reasonable beliefs as to the identity of an ultimate wrongdoer, and emphasised that Ms Oldknow and her representatives had been able to formulate a detailed pre-action letter without the need for disclosure or information from the Labour Party. She rejected the application for Norwich Pharmacal relief and pre-action disclosure.
Ms Oldknow has indicated that she will apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.
Anya Proops QC and Zac Sammour acted for the Labour Party.