The Court of Appeal on Applications to Intervene – does a “legal interest” provide a legal interest?

In this case, the Court of Appeal had to deal with the admissibility of applications to intervene in an appeal. The appeal, initiated by Ocado Innovation Limited, challenges an order related to public access to the court register. The original order, issued by the Nordic-Baltic Regional Division, allowed the Respondent, Autostore AS and its affiliates, access to Ocado's statement of claim after redacting personal data.

Two law firms sought to intervene in the appeal. Their interest stemmed from parallel cases they were involved in, which they believed would be impacted by the court's interpretation of Rule 262.1(b) of the Rules of Procedure (RoP) regarding public access to the register.

Ocado opposed the application to intervene, arguing that a general interest in a point of law or similarities in proceedings was insufficient for intervention. They emphasized the need for a direct factual or legal interest in the action's outcome, referencing the CJEU's statute and practices in various member states. The Respondent and Autostore companies did not object or comment on these applications.

Legal Framework and Decision:

The Court of Appeal applied Rule 313 of the RoP, which requires a substantive demonstration of legal interest in the action's result for an intervention to be admissible. The Court distinguished between a direct interest in the ruling sought by the supported party and an indirect interest due to case similarities. It was found that the applicants' interest was merely indirect, as their concern was more about the potential influence of this case on their own, rather than a direct stake in the current action's outcome.


The Court ruled that the applications to intervene by the Law firms were inadmissible, as they failed to establish a direct and present legal interest in the outcome of the appeal. Consequently, the applications were refused.

Our Key Takeaways:

  • Strict Intervention Criteria: The Court requires a direct and present legal interest in the case's outcome for allowing interventions, emphasizing substantive relevance over general legal interest.
  • Direct vs. Indirect Interest: Merely having a situation similar to a case party is insufficient for intervention. The Court mandates a direct impact on the intervener's legal or factual situation.
  • European Legal Standards' Influence: The decision aligns with broader European legal practices, indicating the UPC's adherence to established European jurisprudence and procedural norms