R (on the application of Prudential plc) v Special Commissioner (and related applications)

QB [2009] EWHC 2494 (Admin)

The Special Commissioners gave consent for notices under s.20 TMA 1970 to be issued to two associated insurance companies. The companies applied for judicial review, contending that some of the documents were subject to legal professional privilege.

The High Court, Queen’s Bench Division rejected these contentions and dismissed the application, holding that for legal professional privilege to apply to legal advice and assistance, it has to be given by a member of the legal profession.

Note: Although this case related to an insurance company, it has important implications for the accountancy professions.

It should be noted that auditor’s statutory audit papers are covered by legal and professional privilege.