A Norwich Pharmacal Order is often the most effective way for victims of online harassment to obtain disclosure of the identity of an anonymous internet user.
A Norwich Pharmacal Order is a court order that grants a victim of online harassment a right to obtain disclosure. This disclosure is generally obtained from third parties such as Google, Facebook, GoDaddy. There are also other website operators and internet service providers such as Money Saving Expert which can all be used to obtain disclosure. Once disclosure is obtained it will be possible in most cases to assert the identity of the person responsible for the online harassment campaign to which an individual may be suffering from as a result. Without a Norwich Pharmacal Order in place, website operators and internet service providers are often unable to give out personal details about people who use their websites and services. Giving an individual third party information without a Norwich Pharmacal Order in place or without the consent of the individual concerned, would, in many cases, breach data protection laws and harm the reputation of the internet service provider. In some states in the United States, the equivalent of a Norwich Pharmacal Order is an Information Subpoena but there are different types of disclosure applications in different states.
The criteria for the granting of a Norwich Pharmacal Order is fairly simple to establish. Most victims of internet trolling, harassment and defamation can, in most cases, fairly and easily justify their case for a Norwich Pharmacal Order grant. Generally speaking, you will need to satisfy three conditions before the court will grant you a Norwich Pharmacal Order.
Firstly, you will need to show, that on the face of it there was a legal wrongdoing committed against you. Then, you must show that the party which committed the wrongdoing is not the same as the party against whom you make the Norwich Pharmacal Order application. The legal wrong could be a crime, a civil wrongdoing or a breach of contract. Recently, some judges in the High Court started to require that you file a claim against the wrongdoer before they grant you a Norwich Pharmacal Order. Naturally, the claim will first be against persons unknown, and once you have obtained the wrongdoer details, you will be need to amend the claim to add their real name to it.
Secondly, you will need to reach out to the court that you need the information of disclosure in order to enable you to bring some form of legal action against the wrongdoer. You cannot obtain a Norwich Pharmacal Order for the sake of it. It has to be for the purpose of pursuing a defendant.
Thirdly, you will need to show that the internet service provider, the social media company or the website operators have been ‘mixed-up’ in the wrongdoing in any way which distinguishes themselves from being a mere witness. This means that the internet platform has been involved in the wrongdoing against you by the defendant and that they are able to provide you with the disclosure information which you are seeking. In most cases of social media and internet abuse, it is fairly easy to fulfil the necessary criteria and convince the court to grant you a Norwich Pharmacal Order.
There is no requirement that the social media company or the internet service provide must agree to your application for a Norwich Pharmacal Order before it is granted by the court. However, making an application for a Norwich Pharmacal Order against Google, Twitter or Facebook, will inevitably involve a requirement to serve on these companies legal proceedings outside the jurisdiction.
To obtain permission of the court to serve legal proceedings outside the jurisdiction you will need to make another application, which is additional to the Norwich Pharmacal Order application. This will inevitably increase the cost of the process of applying to a Norwich Pharmacal Order. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the court would grant you permission to serve proceedings outside the jurisdiction, particularly if you are unable to show why you cannot commence proceedings in the USA, where most of the social media companies reside.
To get around this requirement of having to obtain permission to serve legal proceedings outside the jurisdiction, you may obtain the consent of the social media company or the web platform to the terms of your proposed Norwich Pharmacal Order in advance of the court hearing as well as a confirmation from them that they will not require you to obtain permission to serve the Norwich Pharmacal Order outside the jurisdiction.
We have a streamline process with many social media companies which provides us with all the necessary consents prior to Norwich Pharmacal Order applications. This process saves our clients a great deal of money and helps us reduce the costs of the Norwich Pharmacal Order application substantially.
The price of a Norwich Pharmacal Order, has significantly changed in recent years. Over the past 10 years, we have created new and simpler processes to enable our clients to obtain Norwich Pharmacal Orders at low costs. The main goal for us in our constant efforts to reduce the costs of the Norwich Pharmacal Orders is to facilitate access to justice to victims of online abuse, defamation and harassment. Hopefully, there will come a time where Norwich Pharmacal Orders will become either free or at least affordable to every pocket. In the meantime, we are continuing mainstream, as far as we possibly can, the process for our clients to apply for Norwich Pharmacal Orders.
This price reduction has involved simplifying the application process with the court and with the social media companies, who are often highly co-operative and willing to help. Currently, the cost of us making a straightforward Norwich Pharmacal Order application is £3,500 plus VAT and court filing fees. In most cases, we are happy to offer this to our clients as a fixed fee.
A Norwich Pharmacal Order would typically require website operators and internet service providers to disclose the IP addresses linked to their users.
The IP addresses often help us, together with other information that we gather, to identify online trolls. An IP address may lead us to a physical address, to a mobile phone service provider or to a VPN. In some cases, an initial Norwich Pharmacal Order which discloses an IP address will need to be followed by a second Norwich Pharmacal Order to compel disclosure of information from an internet service provider, such as Virgin Media or BT Broadband, or to a VPN service provider, such as HideMyAss.com or ExpressVPN.com.
Most VPN provides will give out uses’ information upon service of a Norwich Pharmacal Order and so as internet service providers. IP address that we obtain via Norwich Pharmacal Orders may also be matched with other information that we gather through various other sources.
You can try and obtain a Norwich Pharmacal Order by making an application to the High Court to compel the disclosure of information by a website operator, an internet service provider or a social media company. Although you can make the Norwich Pharmacal Order application yourself, doing this for the first time is a highly challenging task which might result in the refusal of the Norwich Pharmacal Order application and consequently in significant costs and potential reputation harm to yourself, should the refusal be published on an offending website. You should also pay attention to jurisdictional issues when applying for an Norwich Pharmacal Order and to any enforcement difficulties that you might have in other jurisdictions.
In fact, in some cases, the High Court might not be the most appropriate venue for you to make the Norwich Pharmacal Order application due to jurisdiction issues and enforcement. You might be able also be able to obtain more valuable data through the disclosure order, if you made the application in the local jurisdiction of the internet service provider or the internet or social media company.
As the cost of Norwich Pharmacal Orders have reduced very significantly, it is worth consulting a specialist solicitor before making your Norwich Pharmacal Order application.