ROYAL COURT OF
Access to Court Files in Civil Proceedings
This Practice Direction sets
out the general approach to be taken when anyone wishes to seek access to a
court file. It applies to all parties
to any civil proceedings to any media accredited by the Royal Court or to any
member of the public seeking access to a court file.
The guidance in this Practice
Direction is however subject to any order a judge may make in any case
directing that a case or part of a case is to be heard in private or that all
or any part of any evidence filed or documents referred to in court are to
No one may request copies of
any communications or documents internal to the Royal Court or the Judicial Greffe including drafts of any orders or judgments or notes
taken by any judges or officers of the Court during any hearing.
All matrimonial and children
proceedings and any evidence or documents supplied in the course of such
proceedings will be in private unless the court orders otherwise.
A party to proceedings may, unless the court orders otherwise, obtain from the
court files a copy of any:-
Application for the appointment of a
Guardian ad Litem;
any affidavit or witness statement where
that party has been served within the course of the proceedings;
any Court order;
any application issued by a summons
other than an application that the identity of a party or witness should not be
any cost budget;
any list of documents;
any notice of a payment into court;
For any other document filed;
or referred to in any court hearing, a copy of any such document may be
requested by written application to the Judicial Greffier. The request should set out all reasons why
the document is required.
On any such application by a
party, the party may be charged a reasonable fee by the Judicial Greffier for the provision of any document permitted to be
disclosed in hard copy or electronic format.
For the purposes of this
Practice Direction accredited media shall mean any media organisation
accredited by the Judicial Greffier. Any decision of the Judicial Greffier on which members of the media may be accredited
shall be a matter of discretion and the Judicial Greffier’s
decision shall be final (subject to any right of judicial review).
Any representative of the
accredited media may apply to the Judicial Greffier
for copies of any pleadings, once pleadings have finalised in a particular
Following any hearing or
trial any member of the accredited media may apply to the Judicial Greffier for copies of any court orders issued during the
proceedings or any evidence or documents referred to in the course of any such hearing
or trial of the proceedings at any time.
Any such application should
be in writing. On any such
application the applicant shall be required to pay such reasonable fee as the
Judicial Greffier may determine.
Any other person may apply
for access to a court file for copies of any pleadings filed, court orders
issued or for evidence or documents referred to in a public court hearing. Any such application shall also be in
writing. On any such application
the person applying must set out all reasons why copies are being requested.
On any such application the
Judicial Greffier may convene any other interested
person to the application before deciding whether or not to release any
If the Judicial Greffier agrees that any document requested may be
released, the person applying shall pay such reasonable fee for the provision
of any document to be released to that party as the Judicial Greffier may determine.
Practice Direction shall come into force on 1st day of September, 2020.