JSC BTA Bank v Ablyazov and Others: ComC 15 May 2012

Their client had been found in contempt and sentenced to imprisonment. The solicitors were now subject to an application for disclosure of further details of how they contacted their client. The court considered the jurisdiction of the court to make such an order and how it might affect legal privilege. The respondent solicitors were Addleshaw Goddard LLP and the claimant wished to obtain information regarding their conference call facility and email facility so as to be able to track down the first defendant’s location. There was evidence before the Judge that Addleshaw Goddard and the relevant defendant had set up the conference call facility and email facility expressly for the purpose of giving and receiving confidential and privileged legal advice.
Held: Having carefully considered the earlier authorities, the court came to the conclusion on the facts as laid out that the telephone number and email address of the relevant client were protected from disclosure by legal professional privilege.
Teare J said: ‘However, it is impossible to predict all the circumstances in which an order of the type sought in the present case may arise. For that reason it is, I think, permissible and preferable to hold that the court has jurisdiction to make an order of the type sought pursuant to section 37 of the Supreme Court Act 1981 but that in deciding whether the order is ‘just and convenient’ in any particular case, or whether the court should, in the exercise of its discretion, make the order sought the court must necessarily take into account both the absolute nature of the right to confidential and privileged legal advice and the prior right to have access to such advice. It may be that taking such matters into account will necessarily mean that the order sought will be refused where it requires disclosure of information protected by legal professional privilege or where its effect is to deny a person access to legal advice. But I do not consider that that renders the court’s discretion illusory. Rather, it shows that the court must carefully consider all the circumstances of the case in order to decide whether the order is just and convenient and if so whether the order should be made.’


Teare J


[2012] EWHC 1252 (Comm)




England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedSRJ v Person(s) Unknown (Author and Commenters of Internet Blogs) QBD 10-Jul-2014
The claimant sought an order for the disclosure by his solicitor of the identity of the author of an internet blog publishing critical material which, the claimant said, was its confidential information. The defendant’s solicitor had failed to . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Litigation Practice, Contempt of Court, Legal Professions

Updated: 06 August 2022; Ref: scu.457700