Chancellor of the High Court gives important guidance regarding scope and interpretation of the Disclosure Pilot Scheme (PD 51U) (High Court)

In a regular slot, Beverley Barton, Senior Editor in the Practical Law Dispute Resolution team, selects a case of particular interest reported on by Practical Law during the previous month.

Subscribers to Practical Law Dispute Resolution can access further analysis and practical guidance on this case, and other judgments, on the Practical Law Dispute Resolution website ( ).

In UTB LLC v Sheffield United Ltd and others [2019] EWHC 914 (Ch), Sir Geoffrey Vos, Chancellor of the High Court, considered issues regarding the disclosure process in the case.

His robust judgment provides important clarification regarding the scope of, and required approach to, the mandatory (subject to limited exceptions) Disclosure Pilot Scheme (DPS) (PD 51U) operating in the Business and Property Courts until 31 December 2020.

Points of particular note include:

  • Vos J’s important clarification of the approach, under the DPS, to transitional cases (where disclosure was originally ordered under CPR 31 but the case is now within the scope of the DPS): a point on which there had been some uncertainty.
  • The very clear message to practitioners of the need to embrace the principles of the pilot scheme: notably, those regarding the need for co-operation and for a proportionate approach.
  • Vos J’s consideration of circumstances when it is appropriate for a judge to inspect documents in order to determine whether there is a valid claim to privilege, including particular considerations under PD 51U.
  • The judge’s analysis regarding claims to privilege in the context of a foreign lawyer acting as both a “man of business” and a lawyer.

The fact that the revised version of the Chancery Guide, which was published on 25 April 2019, already refers to Vos J’s judgment, gives some indication of its importance for practitioners.

(UTB LLC v Sheffield United Ltd and others [2019] EWHC 914 (Ch) (9 April 2019).)

Beverley Barton