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Justice Calver hands down a judgment on Disclosure – FRN v JP Morgan

Published on 11 May 2021

Interesting decision on disclosure handed down this morning in the next stage of the Federal Republic of Nigeria's ongoing claim against JP Morgan.

Federal Republic of Nigeria v JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A [2021] EWHC 1192 (Comm)

Key takeaways from the judgment as follows:

  • The Disclosure Pilot is intended to effect a culture change in reducing the time and costs spent by litigants on disclosure, and in particular to ensure that disclosure is properly focused on the key issues in the case
  • In broad terms, the test under paragraph 17 of  PD 51U I is whether the respondent should have searched for the relevant documents the first time around.  An application under on paragraph 18 is a more demanding test as the applicant must show not merely that making the order is “reasonable and proportionate”, but also that varying the original order “is necessary for the just disposal of the proceedings”.  
  • The Court expects that the parties approach disclosure in the spirit of cooperation and compromise.  This may include, for example, disclosing documents notwithstanding a dispute as to their relevance, particularly if the documents are limited in number and have already been identified and disclosing them will cause no difficulty.
  • In the context of arguments as to lack of proportionality, the Court may not be impressed by a respondent having spent more on opposing an application than it would have cost it to provide the disclosure.

The judgment is available here.

RPC represents FRN and our clients instructed Roger Masefield QC, Richard Blakeley and Jonathan Scott (all from Brick Court). JP Morgan is represented by Freshfields, who instructed Rosaline Phelps QC and David Murray, of Fountain Court. 

The claim is for the recovery of $875m plus interest, following an alleged breach by the bank of its Quincecare duty of care to its customer (the FRN).