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Panama papers: advice privilege and Sharland set aside

Date:8 APR 2016
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Solicitor Advocate

Advice privilege and the Panama papers

The subject of legal profession privilege (LPP) is in the news at present: there is talk of its definition being reviewed in legislation going through Parliament and its application to the Panama papers has raised question as to how it applies to the leaked documents. And yesterday (7 April 2016) the Law Society Gazette quoted two solicitor doyens of family law - Nigel Shepherd and Tony Roe - as saying that information from the Panama leaks could be used to open up and set aside court orders on the basis of fraud (per Sharland v Sharland [2015] UKSC 60 [2015] 2 FLR 1367). In all of this perhaps all lawyers need carefully to reflect on the extent to which legal professional privilege (in this case mostly legal advice privilege (LAP)) applies and to what extent that overrides the leaking of otherwise confidential information - which appears to be what has happened with the Panama papers.

There is a public interest in confidential information remaining private (Attorney-General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd (No 2) [1990] 1 AC 109 [Spycatcher case]) and this...

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