Legal Advice Privilege and Foreign Lawyers under English Law

We recently came across an intriguing client alert article from UK firm Akin Gump discussing a recent judgment of the English High Court on legal advice privilege concerning foreign in-house lawyers, particularly in the context of non-“Advocate” Russian in-house lawyers. In addition to summarizing this recent case, the article, PJSC Tatneft v Bogolyubov & others [2020] EWHC 2437 (Comm), also provides an overview of privilege under English Law.

In short, the Court concluded:

  • Legal advice privilege extends to communications with foreign lawyers whether or not they are “in-house” (and thus employees).
  • The English Court will not, as a general matter, enquire into how or why the foreign lawyer is regulated or what standards apply to the foreign lawyer under the local law; the only requirement is that they “should be acting in the capacity or function of a lawyer.”
  • There is no additional requirement that foreign lawyers be “appropriately qualified” or recognized or regulated as “professional lawyers.”

Go here to read the full article on Akin Gump.