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articles | 04 June 2020 | Soteris Pittas & Co LLC

CYPRUS: English Guidance on the Correct Test to Apply for Existence of Legal Advice Privilege

In a recent judgment issued by the English Court of Appeal in R (Jet2.com Ltd) -v- Civil Aviation Authority (Law Society of England & Wales intervening) (2020) EWCA Civ 35, it has been held that the correct test applicable to the issue, whether a particular document, or communication, is covered by a legal advice privilege (“LAP”), is whether its dominance purpose, had been for the giving, or seeking of legal advice from a lawyer.

Where a communication had been sent to multiple addressees (who not all of them are lawyers), it could still be privilege if it satisfied the “dominant purpose test”, even if it sought the commercial views of other people.

If, by contrast, a communication sent to multiple addressees, was predominantly seeking commercial views, same will not attract LAP, even if it was contemporaneously sent to a lawyer for the purpose of legal advice.

Lord Justice Hickinbottom who gave the main judgment, reviewed all relevant authorities concerning LAP, and summarized certain key principles applicable on deciding whether certain document or communication is covered by LAP.

The above English appellate judgment provides helpful guidance to Cypriot Courts, in deciding issues of legal advice privilege.

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