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Retention of private documents

Litigation Letter

Retention of private documents

White v Withers & Dearle [2009] EWCA Civ 1122; SJ 3 November p4

The estranged wife of Marco Pierre White, the TV chef, removed 42 documents, many of them originals, following the collapse of their marriage. They included a letter from his daughter, which the wife had intercepted and retained. The removal of his contract with P&O meant that Mr White had to go to the firm’s offices in Southampton to sign a duplicate version. All the documents remained in the possession of the wife’s solicitors who Mr White sued for misuse of confidential or private information and for trespass to goods and conversion. On the defendants’ application to strike out the proceedings Ward LJ said he was left with such an uncomfortable feeling that for his part he would be reluctant to shut out the claimant and deny him his day in court.

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