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Norwich order is a pre-action discovery mechanism that compels a third party to provide certain information in its possession. They allow victims of alleged fraud to access potentially relevant information from third parties, such as financial institutions. Norwich orders have been granted to identify the wrongdoer, locate and preserve evidence, or trace and preserve assets. The underlying fundamental principal behind such orders is that an innocent third party who unknowingly assisted the wrongful action has an equitable duty to assist the applicant in attaining his or her legal rights. Courts have granted Norwich relief where the applicant believes it has been defrauded and seeks access to bank records to prove the fraud and recover the wrongfully-obtained property. Applications for Norwich orders can be made ex parte.
The order is named after the House of Lords 1974 law case in which it was developed and followed.