Following a remote hearing on Tuesday 18 August 2020 and the receipt of further information overnight, on Wednesday 19 August 2020 I decided that I would not accede to an application by the Second Defendant ("POS") to join the National Crime Agency (the "NCA") to these proceedings. I indicated that I would give my reasons in writing, which I now do.
The hearing of the application for joinder was advertised in the cause list in the usual way, but having first heard submissions from the parties and two representatives of the media who (among a number of others) attended the start of the remote hearing on 18 August 2020, I ordered that the hearing of the application would take place in private. I took the view that the application fell within the definition of an "arbitration claim" under CPR 62.2(1)(d)(i), as it was an application affecting arbitration proceedings, which CPR 62.10(3) indicates should be heard in private unless the court directs otherwise. On the basis of my knowledge of the matter at that stage I did not see any good reason to order otherwise, and in particular I was not persuaded that I should hold the hearing in public merely because an earlier judgment of Zacaroli J in the proceedings had been published.
Had I not considered that this was an arbitration claim under CPR 62, I indicated that I would, as an alternative, have applied the more general provisions of CPR 39.2(3)(c) and ordered the hearing to be held in private on the basis that this was an application which involved confidential information relating to a private arbitration, and publicity would damage that confidentiality.
I did, however, indicate that I would consider the extent to which I could make public the arguments and my decision when I delivered my written judgment, either by doing so in open court or giving a judgment in redacted form. Having taken into account the observations of the parties, I can indicate that this is my full and unredacted judgment which is deemed to be delivered in open court.