Privilege in tax cases
Produced in partnership with Anne Redston

The following Tax practice note produced in partnership with Anne Redston provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Privilege in tax cases
  • What is LPP?
  • The types of privilege
  • Disclosure of documents under HMRC information and inspection powers
  • Exclusion for documents covered by LPP
  • Partial waiver of privilege
  • Examples of the First-tier Tax Tribunal considering partial waiver of privileged material
  • Tax accountants and others who are not lawyers
  • Tax advisers and litigation privilege
  • Tax advisers and legal advice privilege
  • More...

Privilege in tax cases

This Practice Note has been written by Anne Redston, Barrister. It is her personal view; she is not authorised to speak for the Tribunals Service or the judiciary.

This Practice Note:

  1. considers how legal and professional privilege (LPP) applies in relation to tax matters

  2. considers the interaction between LPP and HMRC’s information and inspection powers, and

  3. discusses the extent to which LPP is available for non-lawyer tax advisers

This Practice Note is only a summary and does not cover all situations, so you may need to take further advice in relation to your client’s position. For example, it does not cover privilege:

  1. under Scots law, or

  2. in relation to criminal proceedings such as tax fraud

It also does not cover without prejudice privilege. This is discussed in Practice Note: Without prejudice communications and in Wired Orthodontics.

What is LPP?

In the ex parte Morgan Grenfell case, Lord Hoffman stated that LPP is ‘a fundamental human right long established in the common law.’

It is ‘not merely a rule of evidence but a substantive right founded on an important public policy’.

LPP has been held by the European Court of Human Rights to be part of the right of privacy guaranteed by article 8 of the Convention.

It has also been held by the Court of Justice of the European Union to be a part of Community law.

Further guidance on

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