In re Duncan, decd, Garfield v Fay: 1968

Ormrod J rejected a submission that where foreign lawyers are involved no privilege is recognised by an English Court if privilege is not recognised by the municipal law of the forum of the foreign lawyer. He said: ‘The basis of the privilege is just as apt to cover foreign legal advisers as English lawyers, provided only that the relationship of lawyer and client subsists between them. Any other conclusion would lead to an impossible position for if this court were required to investigate the position of such communications in foreign law it must first determine the foreign law, but what law governs the relationship of English client and foreign lawyer, at any rate, when no proceedings are in contemplation? There is no forum and therefore no lex fori. The nationality of the foreign lawyer is as irrelevant as his address for this purpose.
It only remains to consider the position where proceedings are already on foot in a foreign court. If disclosure is required by the law of such a court the other side will see the documents in dispute and so gain an advantage. Is that a reason for making an exception to our lex fori? In my judgment it is not. These matters are matters to be decided according to the practice of this court. I, therefore, hold that all the documents which are communications passing between the plaintiff and his foreign legal advisers are privileged, whether or not proceedings in this or any other court were contemplated when they came into existence.’


Ormrod J


[1968] P 306, [1968] 2 WLR 1479


CitedLawrence v Campbell 1859
Legal privilege was claimed in English litigation for communications between a Scottish client and a Scottish solicitor practising in London.
Held: ‘the same principle that would justify an Englishman consulting his English solicitor would . .

Cited by:

CitedPrudential Plc and Another, Regina (on The Application of) v Special Commissioner of Income Tax and Another SC 23-Jan-2013
The appellants resisted disclosure to the revenue of advice it had received. It claimed legal advice privilege (LAP), though the advice was from its accountants.
Held: (Lords Sumption and Clarke dissenting) LAP applies to all communications . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Litigation Practice, International

Updated: 06 May 2022; Ref: scu.470880