The High Court recently determined that Coutts had not breached its duty to exercise reasonable skill and care when advising clients on certain investments. In doing so, it held that the appropriate test was whether the defendant took reasonable care to inform the claimant of any material risks involved, thus enabling the claimant to make his or own decision about whether to proceed.
A High Court judge has confirmed the general principle that a company cannot assert legal advice privilege against its shareholders, subject to one exception: the company can assert privilege against shareholders in relation to advice obtained once it is a party to actual, threatened or contemplated litigation with its shareholders. However, this privilege is limited to advice taken specifically in connection with that litigation.
The Court of Appeal recently considered the principles that apply to an application for extension of time for compliance with obligations set out in a consent order. In particular, it considered whether it has discretion to extend time limits in a consent order that recorded the terms on which a dispute had been settled and where time was of the essence.
In London Borough of Brent v Kane the court considered an application for the disclosure of legal advice that was alleged to have been given for an iniquitous purpose, such that the benefit of any privilege that might otherwise have attached to the document was lost. The decision is a useful illustration of the court's approach to the iniquity exception where there is prima facie evidence to suggest an iniquitous purpose.