Walter Lilly & Company Ltd v Mackay & Anor [2012] EWHC 649

This case is a reminder of the scope of legal professional privilege. The claimant in this case was a building contractor who had been engaged to construct a house for one of the defendants.

The defendant had engaged a claims consultant (Knowles) for “contractual and adjudication advice”. The defendant claimed that the majority of the Knowles documentation was privileged and did not disclose it. The contractor applied for an order requiring disclosure of these documents and the Court agreed holding that legal professional privilege did not apply. The Judge gave weight to the fact that Knowles was not retained to provide legal advice and had not held itself out as a firm of solicitors or barristers. It was immaterial that the people providing the advice had trained at the Bar and that the defendant honestly believed that it was engaging

Knowles to provide legal advice. It is therefore very important that parties are clear as to the services they are providing to avoid any surprises as to what documentation could subsequently be subject to disclosure.