Q had provided professional indemnity insurance to a firm of solicitors in which the Law Society had intervened. Claims were made against the firm, but Q declined to pay, saying that the apparently fraudulent activities of the firm fell outside the terms of the policy. Q sought access to the firm’s files and accounting records. The intervention agent had refused saying that this would infringe the privacy of other clients. The Society agreed that the making of a claim by a client amounted to a waiver of confidentiality by that client, but no further.
Held: The insurer’s appeal failed. Neither the defendant nor any client of the firm was party to the contract of insurance and could not be bound by its terms. The Society had possession of the materials through its agent under the provision of the 1974 Act, and ‘There is no reciprocity in this respect between the solicitor/insured and Quinn/the insurer on the one hand or between the Law Society and Quinn/the insurer on the other.’
Nor was it correct to say that by virtue of the indemnity rules, the insurer was somehow meshed in with Society so as to allow access. If a ‘circle of confidence’ existed, it did not include the insurer.
Rimer lJ, Jackson LJ
 EWCA Civ 805, A3/2009/2499,  WLR (D) 185,  NPC 80,  Lloyd’s Rep IR 655
Solicitors Act 1974, The Solicitors’ Indemnity Insurance Rules 2007
England and Wales
Cited – J Rothschild Assurance Plc v Collyear and Othersl ComC 29-Sep-1998
A claim against an insurance company for compensation for pensions mis-selling was properly subject of a claim by the insurance company in turn under its own professional indemnity insurance policy. Under a ‘claim made’ policy, the risk insured is . .
Cited – Regina v Special Commissioner And Another, ex parte Morgan Grenfell and Co Ltd HL 16-May-2002
The inspector issued a notice requiring production of certain documents. The respondents refused to produce them, saying that they were protected by legal professional privilege.
Held: Legal professional privilege is a fundamental part of . .
Cited – HLB Kidsons (A Firm) v Lloyd’s Underwriters Subscribing to Lloyd’s Policy No 621/ Pk1D00101 and others CA 31-Oct-2008
In construing the terms of insurance policies written in the Lloyd’s market, counsel submitted that the court should have regard to the post-contract conduct of persons acting for the parties, on the basis that the conduct of those persons was . .
Appeal From – Quinn Direct Insurance Ltd v The Law Society of England and Wales ChD 23-Oct-2009
The defendant had intervened in a solicitors’ firm insured by the claimants. The claimants sought access to files and accounting records so that it could defend insurance claims. The defendant denied access to files other than those on which claims . .
Cited – B and Others Russell McVeagh McKenzie Bartleet and Co v Auckland District Law Society, Gary J Judd PC 19-May-2003
(New Zealand) Solicitors resisted requests to disclose papers in breach of legal professional privilege from their professional body investigating allegations of professional misconduct against them.
Held: The appeal was allowed. The . .
Cited – Regina v Derby Magistrates Court Ex Parte B HL 19-Oct-1995
No Breach of Solicitor Client Confidence Allowed
B was charged with the murder of a young girl. He made a confession to the police, but later changed his story, saying his stepfather had killed the girl. He was acquitted. The stepfather was then charged with the murder. At his committal for trial, . .
Cited – March Cabaret Club and Casino Ltd v The London Assurance 1975
Cited – Hilton v Barker Booth and Eastwood HL 3-Feb-2005
The claimant had instructed the defendant solicitors to act for him, where he was to contract with another client of the same solicitor in a land development. The solicitor failed to disclose that the other client had convictions for dishonesty, and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.
Legal Professions, Insurance
Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.420749