Supreme Court confirms legal advice privilege extends only to legal profession

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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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