Lawyers – The Privileged Profession

    View Authors May 2013

    The case of Prudential PLC and Prudential (Gibraltar) Limited v Commissioner of Income Tax and Philip Pandolfo (HM Inspector of Taxes) [2013] UKSC 1 has restated the scope of Legal Advice Privilege (LAP), a concept that has become increasingly eroded by the range of professionals now offering legal advice.

    The issue examined by the Supreme Court was whether LAP extended to legal advice given by persons who are not members of the legal profession. The Supreme Court ruled by a majority of five to two that LAP remains limited to the special “relationship between a solicitor or barrister and his or her client”, therefore denying other professions admission to the “privilege club”.

    The Supreme Court justified their landmark decision considering that LAP notwithstanding the rise in the number of professions providing legal advice is not an adequate reason in itself to extend the scope of privilege to other advisers falling outside the legal profession.