Appleby issued a claim for breach of confidence against the BBC and The Guardian on 4 December 2017. It simultaneously issued an application for disclosure and information from the BBC and the Guardian.

Appleby’s main objective of this application, and indeed the proceedings as a whole, is to understand which of our confidential and privileged documents were stolen by hackers so that we can for example respond meaningfully to clients and colleagues about what information, relating to them, has been taken. This is something that we have repeatedly requested over a period of months and has always been refused by BBC and Guardian journalists.

This case is not about trying to identify journalistic sources or suppressing freedom of speech. We do not understand how us being informed of what documents have been taken could lead to the identification of any source. In addition, correspondence shows that we did all we could to co-operate with the BBC and the Guardian before their publication deadlines.

This case is about taking reasonable and proportionate steps to identify what information has been stolen from us. Our claim is narrow in its main focus. It is for breach of confidentiality including most importantly in legally privileged documents.

Reluctantly we have concluded that in the absence of any voluntary co-operation from the BBC and the Guardian, the only way for us to find out what information has been stolen, which we are morally obliged to provide to our clients and colleagues, is through the courts”.

Please ensure this statement is published or included in its entirety in any article and attributed to Appleby.

Appleby wish to make no further comment in this regard.

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