Disclosure Statement

At the Disclosure of Documents stage, as well as providing a list of documents in your control, you have to disclose any documents which used to be in your control, but are no longer in your control. The disclosure statement giving this information may, depending on the court/tribunal, contain other information as well.

A typical form of disclosure statement can be found here.


How can I disclose documents which have been in my control but are no longer in my control?   

Obviously if you no longer have copies of a document, you cannot provide copies, but disclosure means describing briefly what documents they were and what has become of them. You may know about such documents either because you remember having them or because they are referred to in documents you still have. For example if you have a letter written to you dated 30th September 2013 which commences "Thank you for your letter of 25th September 2013" but you do not now have a copy of a letter by you dated 25th September then, unless you have some reason to suppose that that is a mistake, you know that you must have sent out a letter dated 25th September 2013 and that that is a document which you used to have in your possession but no longer do. And if the 30th September 2013 letter is a probative document, it is likely that the letter it is replying to - your letter of 25th September 2013 - will also be a probative document which should be disclosed if it comes within the scope of the court's/tribunal's disclosure order. 


What is "standard disclosure"?

In recent times (due mainly to concerns about solicitors' costs associated with the Disclosure of Documents process in Commercial Court cases involving tens of thousands of emails and other documents) courts have tended to make a particular kind of limited disclosure order called Standard Disclosure which allows each side to limit the search they carry out for documents to what they consider to be a reasonable and proportionate search. But whilst this can save costs in multi-million pound commercial cases, in most ordinary cases between private individuals it does not save costs because for most people there are only a limited number of places around their home where documents could be, and they are not likely to have documents outside their home other than, possibly, in safe keeping with their bank, so it is easier to just search everywhere rather than limit the search in any way. And most individuals would think it preferable to search everywhere anyway - it is not a matter of doing the minimum which the court order requires but of positively wanting to search everywhere in case the search turns up a useful document. Not only does Standard Disclosure not save costs in most ordinary cases, it actually adds complexity because the Disclosure Statement which has to be completed if a party has limited their search is quite complex since it has to draw attention to the limits on extent of search adopted for proportionality reasons and their rationale. Most people in ordinary cases, therefore, choose not to limit their search (even if they are allowed to because the court has ordered only Standard Disclosure) which means that they can make an ordinary straightforward Disclosure Statement (see above) rather than the more complicated Disclosure Statement required if advantage is taken of the option to do a limited search.


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This page was lasted updated in March 2018. Disclaimer