No Extension of English Law Privilege to Accountants, Non-Lawyer Tax Advisers (PDF-45kb)
No Extension of English Law Privilege to Accountants, Non-Lawyer Tax Advisers Authors: Anne Fairpo, Raymond L. SweigartThe UK Supreme Court decision in Prudential PLC and Prudential (Gibraltar) Limited v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Philip Pandolfo (HM Inspector of Taxes) has confirmed that legal professional privilege only covers communications with lawyers and does not include communications with accountants and other non-lawyer tax advisers. Communications with nonlawyer tax advisers must be disclosed to HM Revenue & Customs if requested by notice under Schedule 36 of Finance Act 2008 (formerly s20 TMA 1970).
What is the legal professional privilege ("LPP") under English law?
LPP is a set of common law rules protecting communications between a professional legal adviser (a solicitor, barrister or attorney) and his or her clients from being disclosed without the permission of the client. It is often broken down for discussion into legal advice privilege and litigation privilege.
The LPP rules of evidence allow a party to litigation to withhold disclosure of certain categories of documents which are relevant to dispute—note that it relates to categories of documents, not individual specific documents as such. LPP has not been defined in legislation—it is a common law concept that has developed in case law over time, and continues to develop.
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