The recent case of R (Prudential Plc and Another) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Another [2013] UKSC 1 has confirmed that the rules on confidential advisers’ disclosure do not apply to non-legal professionals – be that accountants, surveyors, agents, architects etc……

This case began as an application for judicial review by Prudential to quash notices received from HMRC requiring it to disclose legal advice received from PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court held that legal advice privilege could not extend to advice given by professionals who were not members of the legal profession.

In practice this means that any legal advice given by a non-legal professional may be disclosed to the other side as part of the litigation process.

This should not be confused with litigation privilege which attaches to communications with non-legal professionals where litigation is reasonably in prospect.

In its ruling the Supreme Court indicated that this was not a satisfactory position but noted that it was not a matter for the Court but for Parliament to address.


Although it is not practical to run every piece of advice from a non-legal professional through a lawyer, it may be advisable to do so if there is any chance that a matter may become litigious at a later date.

If you would like more information about this issue, please contact katie-ann.oleary@edwincoe.com.

Please note that this blog is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content of this blog.

Edwin Coe LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales (No. OC326366) and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. A list of members of the LLP is available for inspection at our registered office: 2 Stone Buildings, Lincoln's Inn, London WC2A 3TH. "Partner" denotes a member of the LLP or an employee or consultant with the equivalent standing. Our privacy notice which we are obliged to give you under the GDPR is available here.

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