Home Information Cases Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd v National Westminster Bank Plc & ors (2002)

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Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd v National Westminster Bank Plc & ors (2002)


Where an innocent defendant had been joined in an action solely for the purpose of providing information concerning the wrongdoing of other defendants, that defendant should be released when the relief sought had been achieved. In principle, it was wrong to keep a party joined in an action in expectation of possible future requirements.


Application by the third defendant (E) to be released from the action and to have its costs paid. The claimant (ANZ) claimed that various payments by it had been procured by forgery or fraud. It joined in a number of banks, including E, in order to require them, as innocent parties who had been involved in the wrongdoing of the other defendants, to provide information. Various orders for the provision of information by E, granted on the basis of the usual undertaking by ANZ that it would indemnify E in respect of its costs and reasonable expenses of complying with those orders, had been fully complied with. ANZ had thus far refused to release E from the action on the basis that further allegations might be made against the fifth defendant which might necessitate the provision of further information by E.


No circumstances, however minimal, should have prevented E from being released from a joined action immediately once the relief sought had been achieved by order of August 16, 2001. It was wrong in principle to keep E joined in an action on the basis of a mere hope or expectation that something else might be required of it in the future.

Chancery Division
John Jarvis QC
Judgment date
6 February 2002

​LTL 9/8/2004 : Times, February 14, 2002