Supreme Court confirms legal advice privilege extends only to legal profession

The Supreme Court has recently delivered an important decision on the question of whether legal advice privilege covers communications between a client and a non-lawyer. By a 5:2 majority, their Lordships held that the privilege extends only to advice given by members of the legal profession. Consequently, documents relating to a tax law advice given in this case by chartered accountants had to be disclosed to the UK tax authorities.

Where it applies, privilege protects a party from having to disclose its communications. There are two types of privilege: legal advice privilege and litigation privilege. The Prudential judgment is concerned with legal advice privilege alone.

Legal advice privilege protects all communications passing between a client and its lawyers in connection with the provision of legal advice except in very limited circumstances…

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