Legal privilege and professional secrecy—United Kingdom—England & Wales—Q&A guide

The following Dispute Resolution practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Legal privilege and professional secrecy—United Kingdom—England & Wales—Q&A guide
  • 1. Identify and describe your jurisdiction’s laws, regulations, professional rules and doctrines that protect communications between an attorney and a client from disclosure.
  • 2. Describe any relevant differences in your jurisdiction between the status of private practitioners and in-house counsel, in terms of protections for attorney-client communications.
  • 3. Identify and describe your jurisdiction’s laws, regulations, professional rules and doctrines that provide protection from disclosure of tangible material created in anticipation of litigation.
  • 4. Identify and summarise recent landmark decisions involving attorney-client communications and work-product.
  • 5. Describe the elements necessary to confer protection over attorney-client communications.
  • 6. Describe any settings in which the protections for attorney-client communications are not recognised.
  • 7. In your jurisdiction, do the protections for attorney-client communications belong to the client, or is secrecy a duty incumbent on the attorney?
  • 8. To what extent are the facts communicated between an attorney and a client protected, as opposed to the attorney-client communication itself?
  • 9. In what circumstances do communications with agents of the attorney or agents of the client fall within the scope of the protections for attorney-client communications?
  • More...

Legal privilege and professional secrecy—United Kingdom—England & Wales—Q&A guide

This Practice Note contains a jurisdiction-specific Q&A guide to legal privilege and professional secrecy in United Kingdom - England & Wales published as part of the Lexology Getting the Deal Through series by Law Business Research (published: May 2021).

Authors: Addleshaw Goddard LLP—Michelle De Kluver; Jennifer Burton

1. Identify and describe your jurisdiction’s laws, regulations, professional rules and doctrines that protect communications between an attorney and a client from disclosure.

Confidentiality of client's affairs – professional regulation of lawyers (solicitors and barristers)

Client confidentiality is a fundamental feature of the solicitor–client relationship in England and Wales.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Code of Conduct for Solicitors, Registered European Lawyers and Registered Foreign Lawyers, and the Code of Conduct for Firms (referred to collectively as the Codes) set out the SRA's expectations of individuals and firms authorised by the SRA to provide legal services. Paragraph 6.3 of the Codes require solicitors and firms (including law firm staff such as support staff) to keep the affairs of current and former clients confidential unless disclosure is required or permitted by law, or the client consents. This duty continues even after the client's death.

Barristers have a similar duty, as set out in Core Duty 6, Rule C5 and Rule C15.5 of the Bar Standards Board Handbook. This duty requires them to keep the affairs of

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