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Catching fraudsters: little-known litigation tricks (Part 7): Can you bank on a Bankers' Books Order?

18 October 2022

If you want to obtain information from a bank but cannot satisfy the Bankers Trust criteria, is there anything else you can do?  Yes, one option is the Bankers' Books Evidence Act 1879. 

We have previously discussed the topic of Bankers Trust Orders.

The Bankers' Books Evidence Act 1879 allows people to apply to the Court for permission to inspect and take copies of entries in a banker's book in connection with legal proceedings.  A banker's book includes ledgers, day books, cash books, account books and other records used in the ordinary business of the bank. The purpose of inspecting a banker's book is to establish whether a banking transaction took place, when it took place, the amount transferred and the accounts/branches involved. This helps ensure that victims of fraud are able to tap into information held by a bank in order to assist with asset tracing and untangling the often-complex web of transactions contrived by fraudsters.

Following the case of Ming v HSBC Bank plc, the scope of what can be copied or inspected is limited to "transactional records" and does not cover documents such as a note of a conversation with a customer.  The case also makes clear that its application is limited to legal proceedings in the UK and does not extend to foreign proceedings.

Banks remain a vital source of information in fraud and asset tracing cases and the Bankers' Books Evidence Act 1879 is a useful weapon in a victim's armoury. 

Contact the authors below for more information. 

Other articles in this series:

Written by Contact Darren Kenny and Peter Photiou

Further Reading