Bank of England appeals to Lords

The House of Lords last week agreed to hear the Bank of England’s appeal in the BCCI Inquiry, which could have vital ramifications for legal privilege.

However, Lovells partner Christopher Grierson, who represents BCCI’s creditors, disputed claims that the Court of Appeal’s earlier restriction of legal privilege in the BCCI case could ever have had a major impact on Lord Saville’s Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Grierson told The Lawyer: “In my view, there’s a world of difference between the private BCCI Inquiry and the public statutory inquiry into Bloody Sunday.”

It is understood that BCCI’s creditors submitted an objection to the appeal on the basis that leave to appeal was denied in very similar circumstances last year.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer partner Ian Terry, for the Bank of England, said he hoped the Lords would consider the case before the end of the summer session.

It is not yet clear how narrowly they will construe the terms of reference, but the Lords could concievably use the appeal to rule on the extent to which all non-litigation-based lawyer-client communications are protected. Alternatively, it might restrict judgment to the narrow terms of the BCCI case.