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Pushing the limits of legal advice privilege

While the Supreme Court’s decision in Prudential may have been expected, Ross Risby and Mark Healing argue that the case is not without merit

25 January 2013

An ancient creature of the common law, legal advice privilege entitles a party to refuse to divulge legal advice to third parties such as the police, FSA, HMRC and other regulatory bodies as well as in court proceedings. Importantly, the privilege has traditionally only been available where the ‘legal adviser’ is a lawyer – a solicitor, barrister or suitably qualified foreign lawyer. While historically the narrow range of professionals whose advice attracted privilege was no major cause for dissent, in recent times some – accountants in particular – have agitated for revision of the law. Focus for change has gravitated around tax advisers who have increasingly found their clients asking for ‘legal advice’ on taxation matters, not just ‘accountancy’ advice. Why should that legal advice not attract LAP?

Universal limits

In Prudential v Special Commissioner of Inco...

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