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Rapid reaction - UPC Transparency - Court of Appeal Decision on Access to Documents


Ocado v Autostore (573437/2023/ UPC_CFI_11/2023) 

The UPC Court of Appeal has, in a decision issued today, dismissed Ocado's appeal against the Nordic-Baltic division's decision to grant a member of the public access to documents in Ocado v AutoStore. This is important news to those interested in transparency at the UPC. We will publish a full analysis in due course, but in the meantime, some of the key findings are highlighted below.  

The Court of Appeal notes that when a request to make written pleadings and evidence available to a member of the public is made pursuant to R.262.1(b) RoP, the interests of a member of the public of getting access to the written pleadings and evidence must be weighed against the interests mentioned in Art. 45 UPCA. These interests include, but are not limited to, the protection of confidential information and personal data. In this case, the balance of interest was in favour of allowing access. 

Both parties agreed that a member of the public generally has an interest that written pleadings and evidence are made available and the Court of Appeal states that this ‘allows for a better understanding of the decision rendered, in view of the arguments brought forward by the parties and the evidence relied on. It also allows scrutiny of the Court, which is important for trust in the Court by the public at large.’

The Court also accepted that 'scientific and/or educational interests' constitute a legitimate interest to request access, even if a case has been settled. An argument made by Ocado that access should not be given if proceedings have come to an end due to a settlement, as the settlement may have been made on confidential terms, did not hold. 




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