The English High Court has held that when a client is in contempt of court and in breach of disclosure orders, the Court can order the client's solicitors to reveal the client's contacts details, even when those details are given in confidence.
In JSC BTA Bank v Solodchenko & Ors, JSC BTA Bank applied for disclosure of information about Mr Shalabayev by his solicitors, Clyde & Co. Mr Shalabayev was a defendant in an action by JSC BTA Bank attempting to recover proceeds of AAA- rated investment bonds worth US$209 million, which the Bank claimed had been fraudulently misappropriated. Mr Shalabayev was in breach of disclosure orders and had been found guilty of continuing contempt of court.
The High Court of England and Wales ordered Clyde & Co to disclose all past and present contact details they held for Mr Shalabayev, although they did not order the disclosure of Mr Shalabayev's financial information.
In making the order for disclosure of Mr Shalabayev's contact details, the High Court held that although they had jurisdiction to order disclosure, courts should respect express conditions of confidentiality as far as possible. Confidentiality in this case was overridden by the strong public interest in ensuring obedience with court orders, and the fact that disclosure would help trace the assets subject to the freezing order.
The High Court dismissed the application by Clyde & Co for disclosure of Mr Shalabayev's financial information, because this information was likely to be privileged and, if granted, would inhibit Mr Shalabayev's right to seek legal advice.
See Court decision here.