On appeal from: [2010] EWCA Civ 1094

Whether, following receipt of a statutory notice from an inspector of taxes to produce documents in connection with its tax affairs, a company was entitled to refuse to comply on the ground that the documents were covered by legal advice privilege, in a case where the legal advice was given by accountants in relation to a tax avoidance scheme.

The Supreme Court, by a majority of five to two (Lord Clarke and Lord Sumption dissenting), dismisses the company’s appeal. It would be contrary to authority if legal advice privilege was extended to communications in connection with advice given by professional people other than lawyers, even where that advice was legal advice which that professional person was qualified to give. To extend it would cause uncertainty and raised policy questions better left to Parliament.

For judgment, please download: [2013] UKSC 1
For Court’s press summary, please download: Court’s Press Summary
For a non-PDF version of the judgment, please visit: BAILII