Every so often, a case comes up that reminds us of an often forgotten undertaking that solicitors owe the court: the “Harman” undertaking.
The Harman undertaking concerns documents or information that the court compels third parties to produce. It operates to prevent any of the parties to litigation from using documents obtained in the course of that litigation for the purpose of other unrelated proceedings, without the leave of the court.
Generally, the court will look for special circumstances explaining why a document should be released for use in other proceedings. Even when special circumstances are established, the court still has discretion regarding whether to authorise the release of the information.