Legal professional privilege battle goes to Supreme Court

THE BATTLE to gain legal professional privilege for accountants has taken another twist, after permission was granted for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court.

The case between Prudential and the taxman revolves around advice received by the insurer from PwC tax advisers. The Pru argues that this advice should be protected by legal professional privilege. Currently LPP only extends to lawyers.

The ICAEW and Law Society took opposing sides during the earlier proceedings.

The Court of Appeal said that LPP could not be extended beyond lawyers, as it would create too much uncertainty.

“This is a significant case which, if it is pursued, will be watched with interest by both accountants and lawyers,” said James Roberts, a partner with Barlow Lyde & Gilbert.

“It is particularly interesting in light of the fact that accountants and lawyers will soon be able to practice in partnership together, once alternative business structures are permitted later this year.

“It is however, perhaps surprising that the case is in being pursued in the courts given the Court of Appeal’s comments that if legal professional privilege were to be extended then this would be a matter for Parliament. Perhaps the Supreme Court will disagree.”

Picture: Jaume Meneses flkr photostream

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