- Legal professional privilege and client instructions (Raiffeisen Bank International v Asia Coal Energy Ventures and Ashurst)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Dispute Resolution analysis: The Commercial Court declined to order the disclosure of written instructions given by a client to its solicitors holding they were covered by legal professional privilege. The client had given its lawyers, Ashurst, instructions in respect of a ‘Confirmation’ issued as part of the financing under a sale and purchase agreement (SPA). Ashurst had then passed on this confirmation to the seller, on behalf of its client. The seller sought disclosure of the relevant instructions in order to support its underlying claim against Ashurst for misrepresentation and breach of duty of care in respect of the SPA. The court found that the relevant communications were part of a ‘continuum of communication’ exchanged between the solicitors and their client. This was enough for privilege to attach to all communications in that ‘continuum,’ regardless of whether or not any legal advice was actually contained within the specific communication sought to be disclosed. Written by Colleen Hanley, barrister at 20 Essex St Chambers, London.
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