Privilege and tax law advice

The Supreme Court has upheld previous authorities stating that legal advice privilege does not apply to tax law advice given by chartered accountants. Legal advice privilege applies only to legal advice given by practising lawyers and does not apply to the same legal advice emanating from any other profession. Any extension of privilege to advice given by non-lawyers is a matter for parliament (R (Prudential Plc) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax).

Costs budgets

The Court of Appeal allowed the claimant’s appeal against an order refusing to depart from her approved costs budget under the defamation pilot scheme. A party can ask the court to depart from the approved budget even where they have not complied with all the requirements of Practice Direction 51D. There was good reason to depart from the budget in this case, in part because both parties were at fault. However, under the new rules governing the costs budgeting regime applying to multi-track cases from April 2013, the court will place a greater emphasis on the function of the budget as imposing a limit on recoverable costs (Henry v Newsgroup Newspapers Ltd).

Duty to give protocol pre-action disclosure

Where the claimant failed to deal properly with the defendant's requests for pre-action disclosure under the Professional Negligence Pre-action Protocol, it was appropriate to depart from the normal costs rule under CPR 36.10(4). The claimant could not recover its costs for the period between the expiry of the relevant period and the acceptance of the Part 36 offer one year later. Furthermore, since it was likely that those costs would not have been incurred had the claimant acted reasonably, it was liable to pay the defendant's costs for this period (Webb Resolutions Ltd v Waller Needham & Green).

E-disclosure

The court had jurisdiction to make an order requiring an electronic search to be performed by suitably qualified information technology consultant on behalf of a party where the party themselves had already attempted unsatisfactorily to comply with an order to search its computers, network drive and CD Roms (Mueller Europe Ltd v Central Roofing (South Wales) Ltd).