Norwich Pharmacal disclosure ordersPosted on

I’ll accept, this isn’t the most glamorous title for a blog but, in the digital age, a Norwich Pharmacal Order can be of profound importance if you are being smeared, impersonated or otherwise attacked online.

The Order, in simple terms, is made against a company or individual where:

(1) he/she/it is mixed up in or involved in a legal wrongdoing (i.e. false and defamatory claims, breaches of copyright etc)

(2) he/she/it are unlikely to be involved in any legal proceedings (i.e. they are innocently hosting the wrongdoing or some such); and

(3) he/she/it are not just a mere witness

It is aimed, effectively, at the unwitting facilitator. A role often fulfilled by a social network, webhost or other online or techonological facility.

It’s a powerful tool if you’re being attacked but should not be used lightly. Here are 3 things to remember before instructed your lawyer to apply:

(1) you must give full and frank disclosure to the court if you are applying (i.e. the court can only make a decision if it knows the full facts)

(2) you must undertake to bear the legal costs of the webhost or other person/company (these costs are not usually high if the webhost doesn’t contest the application – which they often do not) and also for any other losses which may occur

(3) the hearing will usually be held in public unless there is a compelling reason for private proceedings


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