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Prudential and legal advice privilege

Will the Supreme Court deliver a substantial Christmas present to chartered accountants by extending legal advice privilege to tax advice provided by professionals other than qualified lawyers? Probably not.

Earlier this month the UK’s highest court heard the appeal of Prudential PLC which is seeking to resist providing copies of its tax accountants’ advice to HMRC. Many tax advisers will be waiting eagerly for the court’s decision.

The significance of the case is demonstrated by interventions from several representative bodies with the ICAEW and the CIOT supporting the appellant and the Law Society and the Bar Council supporting HMRC as respondents. Accountants have keenly felt for some time that the current legal position puts them at a competitive disadvantage compared to lawyers although it is generally acknowledged that much more...

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