​Update on privilege: Law Society intervenes in the Serious Fraud Office case, which is set for appeal

Documentation

Further to our August 2017 article on the ruling in Serious Fraud Office (SFO) v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd (ENRC), ENRC has been granted permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

The appeal will consider Mrs Justice Andrews’ order which required ENRC to disclose internal documents relating to a potential criminal investigation as it was held that they were not covered by legal professional privilege. It also followed the narrow interpretation of “client” in the Three Rivers cases. The appeal is due to be heard by the Court of Appeal on 3 July 2018.

The Law Society has since announced that (unusually) it will seek permission to intervene in the dispute. Joe Egan, president of The Law Society, has said the case “potentially has the perverse effect of discouraging firms from self-reporting for fear of the consequences”. The Law Society is keen to protect privilege and to uphold the right of individuals to have confidential discussions with their lawyers.

We shall be following the progress of the appeal.

Contact our experts for further advice

Jessica Ransley, Hannah Lunn

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