ON 8 DECEMBER 1975, the England and Wales Court of Appeal delivered Anton Piller KG v Manufacturing Processes Ltd & Ors  EWCA Civ 12 (08 December 1975).
The Court of Appeal held that it had inherent jurisdiction to order defendants in most exceptional circumstances to “permit” the plaintiffs’ lawyers to enter the defendants’ premises to inspect and remove material. Such circumstances are (1) when the plaintiffs have a strong prima facie case of very serious actual or potential damage and (2) clear evidence of the defendants being in the possession of “vital material which they might destroy or dispose of to defeat the ends of justice before an application inter partes may be made”.
The Court of Appeal held that in very exceptional circumstances such an application may be made ex parte (in the absence of the defendants).
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