R (On the application of Taranissi) v HFEA

Reference: [2009] EWHC 130 (Admin)

Court: Administrative Court

Judge: Saunders J

Date of judgment: 14 Jan 2009

Summary: Access to court documents - Non-party - CPR 5.4(2) - Judicial review

Appearances: Jonathan Scherbel-Ball (Defendant) 


T had brought a libel claim against the BBC over a Panorama programme investigating his activities. The BBC pleaded justification. T had also sought judicial review of a decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The BBC applied under CPR 5.4(2) for copies of the documents in the court file of the judicial review proceedings. The HFEA did not oppose the application. T indicated an intention to oppose in correspondence but did not attend the hearing and was not represented.


Whether the BBC should be permitted to obtain copies of the judicial review documents.


The BBC would be permitted to obtain copies of the documents sought. They had identified the class of documents sought and the exercise could not be described as a fishing expedition. The documents had all been put before the court in a public hearing; the public are entitled access to those documents to understand why the court hearing the judicial review application made the order it did. If the documents contain details relevant to the issues in the libel claim then it was in the interests of justice that both sides should have access to them.


It was confirmed in R (On the application of Corner House Research & Campaign Against Arms Trade) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office & BAE Systems Plc that CPR 5.4 applies to applications for judicial review as well as private law proceedings.

Although not involved in this application, 5RB’s Adrienne Page QC is acting for the BBC in Mr Taranissi’s libel claim.