Serious Fraud Office Act 1990

If you need more information about this Act, please contact the administering agency: Ministry of Justice
24 Legal professional privilege

(1)

Except as provided in subsection (2), nothing in this Act shall require any legal practitioner to disclose any privileged communication.

(2)

The Director may, by notice in writing to any legal practitioner who the Director has reason to believe may have acted for any person who may be connected with any investigation, require that legal practitioner to supply to the Director the last known name and address of that client.

(3)

For the purposes of this section, a communication is a privileged communication only if—

(a)

it is a confidential communication, whether oral or written, passing between—

(i)

a legal practitioner in his or her professional capacity and another legal practitioner in such capacity; or

(ii)

a legal practitioner in his or her professional capacity and his or her client,—

whether made directly or indirectly through an agent of either; and

(b)

it is made or brought into existence for the purpose of obtaining or giving legal advice or assistance; and

(c)

it is not made or brought into existence for the purpose of committing or furthering the commission of some illegal or wrongful act.

(4)

Where the information or document consists wholly of payments, income, expenditure, or financial transactions of a specified person (whether a legal practitioner, his or her client, or any other person), it shall not be a privileged communication if it is contained in, or comprises the whole or part of, any book, account, statement or other record prepared or kept by the legal practitioner in connection with a trust account of the legal practitioner within the meaning of section 6 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006.

(5)

Where any person refuses to disclose any information or document on the ground that it is a privileged communication under this section, the Director or that person may apply to a District Court Judge for an order determining whether or not the claim of privilege is valid; and, for the purposes of determining any such application, the District Court Judge may require the information or document to be produced to him or her.

(6)

For the purposes of this section, the term legal practitioner means a barrister or solicitor of the High Court, and references to a legal practitioner include a firm or incorporated law firm (within the meaning of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006) in which he or she is, or is held out to be, a partner, director, or shareholder.

Compare: 1966 No 19 s 218A; 1985 No 145 s 15

Section 24(4): amended, on 1 August 2008, by section 348 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (2006 No 1).

Section 24(6): substituted, on 1 August 2008, by section 348 of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (2006 No 1).