Lockton Companies International & Ors v (1) Persons Unknown (2) Google Inc

Reference: [2009] EWHC 3423 (QB)

Court: Queen's Bench Division

Judge: Eady J

Date of judgment: 23 Nov 2009

Summary: Norwich Pharmacal relief - jurisdiction - libel - service out of the jurisdiction - CPR PD 6B 3.1(3)

Instructing Solicitors: Olswang LLP for the Claimants;


L, the proposed claimants, sought Norwich Pharmacal relief against D2, a company based in the US. The identities of D1 were unknown, but they were likely to be based within this jurisdiction. L argued that D2 was a necessary and proper party to the claim, pursuant to CPR PD 6B 3.1(3), because it was necessary to obtain an order against D2 to disclose information which would lead to the identification of D1.


(1) Was it appropriate to grant permission to serve out against D2?
(2) Were the conditions necessary for Norwich Pharmacal relief satisfied?


(1) Granting permission to serve out: Norwich Pharmacal relief is regarded as substantive relief and therefore the application did not offend against the principle that one cannot assert jurisdiction against a party resident abroad purely for the purposes of disclosure of documents. (2) Applying the criteria identified in Mistui Ltd v Nexen Petroleum UK Ltd [2005]: wrongs had been committed within the jurisdiction; there was a need for the order and there was reason to believe that D2 could supply relevant information to enable L to bring proceedings against D1. According it was appropriate to exercise the discretion of the court and make the order granting the relief.


A helpful analysis of the basis for establishing jurisdiction against overseas third parties.