PracticeAccounting FirmsKey issues that shaped the legal battle

Key issues that shaped the legal battle

We examine the issues surrounding the Deloitte injunction and the resulting High Court challenge

Deloitte’s injunction application to stop the Joint Disciplinary Scheme and Accountancy Age from publishing news relating to complaints against the firm and its UK chairman Martin Scicluna rested on two arguments.

First, Deloitte’s QC Mark Howard argued that the JDS has the right to publish press notices only in a limited number of cases. Deloitte believed that the February release was not such a case.

The judge, Mr Justice Laddie, rejected this argument. He felt that the regulations only dealt with instances where the JDS should be deprived of the power to publish. He added that his conclusion was ‘bolstered’ by paragraph 5d(xii) of the JDS regulations, which give the JDS’ executive counsel power to do ‘all such other things as the executive committee may consider necessary or conducive to attain the objectives of this scheme’.

In the second argument, Deloitte and Scicluna claimed the February release contained confidential information that the JDS had no right to publish.

On analysis, the judge concluded that Scicluna did indeed give the JDS executive counsel confidential information, but added that the public interest overruled claims of confidentiality.

Mr Justice Laddie said: ‘Mere disclosure to the Joint Disciplinary Tribunal would do nothing in the short term to convince the public that the professions were taking seriously the supervision of their members.’

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