Does Privilege Survive The Dissolution of a Company?

Legal advice privilege applies to communications between a client and its lawyers. The general rule is that those communications are not disclosable to third parties unless the client waives the right to privilege.

In Addlesee v. Dentons Europe LLP [2019] the claimants were investors in a property development company which had been dissolved and therefore no longer existed.  The investors claimed that this scheme was fraudulent and sought disclosure of documents passing between the company and its legal advisers.  It was not in dispute that the relevant documents had attracted the privilege when they came into existence.  The question was whether privilege was lost if there was no person entitled to assert it at the time a disclosure request was made.

The Court of Appeal looked at the underlying policy of privilege which is that a person had to be able to consult their lawyer in confidence and in the knowledge that what was said could not be revealed without their consent.  No privilege would subsist in a document if it had been created for the furtherance of crime, fraud or other iniquity.  However once privilege was established it remained until it was waived.  In this case there was no one who could now give that waiver. 

In this decision the Court has given a ringing endorsement of the principle of privilege and confirmed that this outlasts the dissolution of a company. 

If you have the issues relating to privilege or legal procedure please do not hesitate to contact Debbie Whiteley on 0161 819 4920 or at

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