News Ltd and PBL have suffered a setback in their $244 million legal wrangle with One.Tel's special purpose liquidator James Weston.
Last week the NSW Supreme Court refused to give the publishing giants access to details of the litigation funding secured by Weston for the compensation suit arising from the abandonment of a $132 million rights issue on the eve of the telco's 2001 collapse.
Justice Reg Barrett ruled on Friday (5 November) that disclosing the amount of funding, as well as the identity of the litigation funder, would give News Ltd and PBL a strategic advantage in the case.
Revealing the information would, said Barrett, "carry with it the potential of distortion in the form of direct approaches to the funder with a view to influencing the funder's conduct in the performance of the [funding] agreements."
Justice Barrett did, however, agree to revisit the issue of allowing the defence to access information about how Weston negotiated the funding.
PBL argued this was necessary in order to allow the defence to prove that the court should not have allowed Weston to regularly extend the service of claim deadline.
In applying for the extensions, which News Ltd and PBL said resulted in significant disadvantage to them, Weston gave evidence in confidential affidavits that he needed more time to secure funding.
A challenge to the extensions' validity will be heard in February.