0370 270 6000

Legal professional privilege v iniquity exception… who wins?

14 August 2014

In JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov & Others the Commercial Court held that a litigant’s strategy of concealment/deceit defeated any claim to privilege it may otherwise have over communications with its lawyers.

JSC sought disclosure of a number of documents held by the defendants’ former solicitors (who were each respondent to the application) that JSC considered these documents showed it had been defrauded of $4billion of judgments.

JSC’s application was made on the grounds that the defendants had pursued a strategy of lying/misleading the court as to the extent and nature of their assets; dealing with assets in breach of Orders; lying/misleading the court as to those transactions; and purposefully putting assets beyond the reach of JSC. JSC also alleged that each firm of solicitors had been used to further that strategy.

In hearing this application Popplewell J held that if iniquity put legal advice outside the scope of a professional engagement or rendered it an abuse of the professional relationship, communications relating to that iniquity could not attract legal professional privilege; demonstrating that privilege cannot be used as a shield against immoral and unjust behaviour.

Related opinions

Dealing with Covid Rent Arrears – an overview but no specifics

Following on from our recent article on the release of the updated Code of Practice for dealing with commercial rent arrears that have accrued throughout the pandemic, we continue to highlight what the overall principles seek to ensure - fairness and proportionality for both landlords and tenants across each step of the arbitration process.

View blog

Business and Property Courts: remote hearings to remain, for now…

For business disputes, it looks likely that remote hearings will be an option into the future.

View blog

Insolvency applicants: getting the basics right

A number of interesting developments have emerged from what was quite a run-of-the-mill insolvency application brought by a litigation funder assignee.

View blog

Covid-19 insolvency measures extension

From 26 March 2021 the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Coronavirus) (Extension of the Relevant Period) Regulations 2021 will come into force with the effect of extending several of the temporary measures brought in by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (CIGA).

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up