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Hong Kong’s Court of Appeal simplifies and clarifies the law on legal advice privilege

In a further sign of the Hong Kong Court’s commitment to upholding the concept of legal professional privilege (LPP), the Court of Appeal’s 29 June 2015 judgment in Citic Pacific Limited v Secretary for Justice & Commissioner of Police has provided welcome clarification in relation to the definition of the “client” for the purpose of legal advice privilege and has roundly rejected the more restrictive approach taken by the English Court of Appeal in the controversial Three Rivers (No 5) decision [2003] QB 1556. The Court has also provided helpful guidance for clients and practitioners in relation to dealing with claims for LPP in respect of materials seized upon the execution of a search warrant.

As pointed out by the Court in the introduction to its judgment, LPP has its origins in the common law but has been constitutionally entrenched in Hong Kong as a basic right under Article 35 of the Basic Law, and the Court of Final Appeal has repeatedly stated that LPP is a fundamental right which the Courts would jealously protect.

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Richard Hudson (夏偉卓)

合夥人 | 訴訟與爭議解決

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