Elliott International LP v Bank of East Asia Ltd (No 2)

Elliott International LP v Bank of East Asia Ltd (No 2) 
[2018] 4 HKLRD 427
Court of First Instance
Miscellaneous Proceedings No 1812 of 2016
Harris J in Chambers

7 September 2018

Civil procedure - right to inspect documents filed with registry - publication of petition for unfair prejudice filed under Companies Ordinance - whether leave to publish pleadings for shareholders to understand dispute to be granted - Rules of the High Court (Cap.4A, Sub.Leg.) O.63 r.4(1)(c) - Companies Ordinance (Cap.622) s.724

The unfair prejudice petition concerning R1, a bank, was published with leave. The petitioners now sought leave under O.63 r.4(1)(c) of the Rules of the High Court (Cap.4A, Sub.Leg.) to publish the points of defence and reply to give R1's shareholders a complete picture of the parties' competing cases. Rs, other than R1, opposed the application.

Held, granting the application, that:

  • The default position was that third parties did not have access to pleadings except to the extent that they formed part of an originating process. However, open justice required that most hearings were heard in public and a member of the public could apply to the court for copies of documents such as witness statements if sufficiently interested and they became part of the evidence before the court. (See para.4.)
  • The present application was unusual in seeking to make pleadings that detailed a private dispute available to others. However, as R1 was a public company and the present dispute would be of interest to many shareholders, allowing publication of the entire pleadings had utility and value in allowing shareholders to better understand the controversy with little negative impact. (See paras.5-6.)

Application

This was an application by the petitioners for leave under O.63 r.4(1)(c) of the Rules of the High Court (Cap.4A, Sub.Leg.) to publish the points of defence and reply. The facts are set out in the judgment.

[Editor's note: see also the preceding report at p.396 for Harris J's decision on the applications for discovery of documents sought by the parties.]

Jurisdictions: 

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