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Bloomberg reporter wins right to copy of skeleton argument at High Court

Bloomberg reporter Kaye Wiggins won a free speech battle in the High Court when she ran into difficulties getting her hands on a written skeleton argument.

Wiggins was trying to cover a public hearing involving multi-national commodities trader Glencore which was taking place before Mrs Justice Moulder in the High Court in London.

She asked a solicitor representing Glencore for a copy of the firm’s skeleton argument – the document detailing the claim and the associated arguments.

But he said he had instructions not to give a copy to journalists.

Wiggins then raised the issue with the judge, who said there was no reason not to allow reporters access to skeleton arguments.

“Glencore’s solicitor told me he had instructions from his client not to give a copy of the skeleton argument to journalists,” Wiggins said.

“I passed a note to Mrs Justice Moulder, in which I said I was covering the hearing and wanted a copy of both parties’ skeleton arguments in order to fully understand the case, and that the defendant’s lawyer had declined to provide one.

“I said I understood that skeleton arguments are public documents that should be provided to members of the press on request, and asked her to briefly clarify the matter.

“She asked Glencore’s barrister why they hadn’t provided the document.

“The barrister said he had instructions from the client ‘not voluntarily to do anything to publicise the matter, but if your ladyship were to direct us we would certainly do so’.

“The judge said: ‘I can’t really see any reason to refuse the journalist access.'”

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