Lords stand firm on legal advice privilege

The House of Lords today reaffirmed the rules governing legal advice privilege in its full judgment in Three Rivers.

As indicated in July, the Lords overturned the decision of the Court of Appeal regarding the disclosure of communication between Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and client the Bank of England. They clarified that the law as set down in the 1988 Balabel case still stands.

Additionally, the Lords decided that inquiries – such as the Bingham Inquiry into the BCCI scandal, which was the subject of the communication between Freshfields and its client – should provide a “relevant legal context” for legal advice privilege to apply.

A Lovells team led by partner Christopher Grierson represented Three Rivers, with Essex Court Chambers’ Gordon Pollock QC and Fountain Court Chambers’ Bankim Thanki QC. Freshfields partner John Goddard instructed Jonathan Sumption QC of Brick Court Chambers for the Bank of England.