Family procedural law is not as clear as it might be over when ‘a person who is not a party to the proceedings’ (a non-party) can be compelled to produce documents and other information into family proceedings (eg the police, tax authorities, a doctor or accountant etc). The categories of circumstance in which a non-party can be required to produce documents are:
21.2 Orders for disclosure against a person not a partyThe impetus for this article comes in part from Lancashire County Council v A, B and Z (A Child: Fact Finding Hearing: Police Disclosure)  EWHC 1819 (Fam) (judgment: 2 July 2018), where Gwynneth Knowles J reviewed problems with delays in police disclosure of evidence in care proceedings. She provided guidance following existing guidance of Francis J in Re L (A Child)  EWHC 3707 (Fam). Both guidances are alongside Protocol and Good Practice Model Disclosure of information in cases of alleged child abuse and linked criminal and care directions hearings October 2013 (the 2013 Protocol) which is intended to apply in care proceedings where both police and local authority have evidence which applies in care and prosecution proceedings.
This rule applies where an application is made to the court under any Act for disclosure by a person who is not a party to the proceedings.
The application… must be supported by evidence.
The court may make an order under this rule only where disclosure is necessary in order to dispose fairly of the proceedings or to save costs….
‘There is a strong public interest in the court having before it all the relevant evidence and documents. The third parties have legitimate concerns about becoming involved in an action which attracts the interest that this action attracts. But they were all police officers and the events in question arise out of their official duties. The public interest in disclosure clearly outweighs the interests of the individual third parties….’