Regina v Ataou: CACD 1988

Legal professional privilege is an interest which falls to be balanced against competing public interests: ‘When a communication was originally privileged and in criminal proceedings privilege is claimed against the defendant by the client concerned or his solicitor, it should be for the defendant to show on the balance of probabilities that the claim cannot be sustained. That might be done by demonstrating that there is no ground on which the client could any longer reasonably be regarded as having a recognisable interest in asserting the privilege. The judge must then balance whether the legitimate interest of the defendant in seeking to breach the privilege outweighs that of the client in seeking to maintain it.’


Wolff LJ, Waterhouse and French JJ


[1988] QB 798


England and Wales


OverruledRegina v Barron 1971
The judge at trial had refused to set aside a subpoena to produce documents which had been served on behalf of the accused in a criminal trial.
Held: Caulfield J said: ‘I think the correct principle is this, and I think it must be restricted . .

Cited by:

OverruledRegina 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, . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Legal Professions, Criminal Practice

Updated: 29 April 2022; Ref: scu.182247