Case Law Update: Can covert recordings be used in Court?

Dispute Resolution - 1 minute read

There can be serious implications in secretly recording conversations or meetings and attempting to rely on these in Court, to mentioned a few: human rights, confidentiality and data protection violations, and legal costs implications.

But in this recent High Court ruling, the Court has clarified that, although such conduct may be frowned upon (and still have costs risks), they may in fact be of ‘great value’ as to what was said or agreed by the relevant parties. Especially so in circumstances where parties’ evidence of fact is diametrically opposed. 

Lessons? Whilst  a Court may have regard to the evidence, parties wishing to rely on secretly recorded conversations or covert footage should take legal advice on the potential problems and risks. 

The case: Singh v Singh and Ors [2016] EWHC 1432

David Cooke J stated in his ruling: 'It is true to say that these must be approached with some caution, as there is always a risk that where one party knows a conversation is being recorded but the other does not the content may be manipulated with a view to drawing the party who is unaware into some statement that can be taken out of context. But there can be great value in what is said in such circumstances, where the parties plainly know the truth of the matters they are discussing and are talking (at least on one side) freely about them.'