08 February 2009

Furazolidone (Norwich Pharmacal)

The Norwich Pharmacal case is well known. In it, Lord Reid explains that, "[d]iscovery as a remedy in equity has a very long history. The chief occasion for its being ordered was to assist a party in an existing litigation. But this was extended at an early date to assist a person who contemplated litigation against the person from whom discovery was sought, if for various reasons it was just and necessary that he should have discovery at that stage. Such discovery might disclose the identity of others who might be joined as defendants with the person from whom discovery was sought. Indeed in some cases it would seem that the main object in seeking discovery was to find the identity of possible other defendants."

He goes on to say, "[t]hey [the earlier authorities] seem to me to point to a very reasonable principle that if through no fault of his own a person gets mixed up in the tortious acts of others so as to facilitate their wrong-doing he may incur no personal liability but he comes under a duty to assist the person who has been wronged by giving him full information and disclosing the identity of the wrongdoers. I do not think that it matters whether he became so mixed up by voluntary action on his part or because it was his duty to do what he did. It may be that if this causes him expense the person seeking the information ought to reimburse him. But justice requires that he should co-operate in righting the wrong if he unwittingly facilitated its perpetration."

Adding, "... [i]f the Respondents have any doubts in any future case about the propriety of making disclosures they are well entitled to require the matter to be submitted to the Court at the expense of the person seeking the disclosure. The Court will then only order discovery if satisfied that there is no substantial chance of injustice being done."

Reading the Mohamed judgement at the moment and being a chemist; one can't but help but think of the chemical compound in the Norwich Pharmacal case.

Image produced courtesy of Daylight by posting the SMILES string into their depict facility.

smiles string O=N(=O)C1=CC=C(O1)C=NN2CCOC2(=O)

Patent GB735,136, thanks to Dave.

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