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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: June 2013

33 - United Kingdom

Summary

Preliminary note

1. In England and Wales, the legal protection afforded to communications between lawyers and their clients is known as ‘legal professional privilege’ (LPP). This protection is intended to promote the rule of law and facilitate access to justice. LPP is a single privilege with two subheads: (i) legal advice privilege and (ii) litigation privilege.

Legal advice privilege protects communications between lawyer and client for the purpose of giving or receiving legal advice. These communications are generally covered by privilege, whether or not litigation is contemplated or in progress.

Litigation privilege protects communications between a lawyer (or his/her client) and a third party for the purpose of litigation. These communications are privileged only if litigation is contemplated or in progress. Litigation privilege does not protect other communications between lawyer and client; these are covered only by legal advice privilege.

2. Northern Ireland is a separate legal jurisdiction within the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The laws applicable in Northern Ireland are those Acts of Parliament or statutory instruments of the United Kingdom that are expressed to apply to Northern Ireland (in whole or in part) and Orders of the devolved Northern Ireland Assembly, together with statutory instruments made by departments of the Northern Ireland Executive. The principles of common law in Northern Ireland are very similar to those in England. Decisions of the civil courts in England are persuasive (but not binding, save for Supreme Court Decisions) in the Northern Ireland courts. The law in relation to LPP in England and Wales is largely the same in Northern Ireland.

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