Line to take - LTT113 - Definition of Legal Professional Privilege
- FOI/EIR: FOI
- Section/Regulation: s42
- Issue: Definition of Legal Professional Privilege
- Source: Information Tribunal
- Details: Calland / Financial Services Authority (8 August 2008); Bellamy / Secretary of State for Trade & Industry (4 April 2006)
- Related Lines to Take: LTT6, LTT15, LTT111
- Related Documents: EA/2005/0023 (Bellamy), EA/2007/0136 (Calland)
- Contact: HD
- Date: 19/08/2008
- Policy Reference: LTT113
- © Copyright Information Commissioner's Office, re-used with permission
- Original source linked from here: LTT
Line to take
Legal Professional Privilege (LPP) protects the confidentiality of communications between a lawyer and client.
It has been described by the Information Tribunal (in the case of Bellamy v the Information Commissioner and the DTI) as:
- “a set of rules or principles which are designed to protect the con fidentiality of legal or legally related communications and exchanges between the client and his, her or its lawyers, as well as exchanges which contain or refer to legal advice which might be imparted to the client, and even exchanges between the dents and [third]* parties if such communication or exchanges come into being for the purpose of preparing for lltigation.” (para. 9)
There are two types of privilege —litigation privilege and legal advice privilege.
Litigation privilege will be available in connection with confidential communications made for the purpose of providing or obtaining legal advice in relation to proposed or contemplated litigation.
Advice privilege will apply where no litigation is in progress or being contemplated. In these cases, the communications must be confidential, made between a client and professional legal adviser acting in their professional capacity and made for the sole or dominant purpose of obtaining legal advice. Communications made between adviser and client in a relevant legal context will attract privilege. Advice privilege has been discussed by the courts in the Three Rivers case.
For the avoidance of doubt, the Tribunal in the case of Calland and the Financial Services Authority also confirmed that in-house legal advice or communications between in-house lawyers and external solicitors or barristers also attracts legal professional privilege.
The preceding description is a brief summary only and if further information is required, Legal Services internal guidance should be consulted.
(*) The quote from the Tribunal reads “...between the clients and their parties...” but for the purposes of this LTT, the Commissioner will assume this to read [third] parties.