Editors

Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

Bill Steinman
Contributing Editor

UK appeals court restores attorney-client privilege in internal investigations

The UK Court of Appeal on Wednesday overturned a lower court’s ruling and restored the attorney-client privilege to protect internal investigations from discovery by the Serious Fraud Office.

In a case involving London-listed Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), the appellate court said those who retain counsel “to investigate the circumstances of an alleged offense” shouldn’t be “denied the benefit of litigation privilege.”

The ruling reversed a High Court decision in May 2017 that interview notes created during an internal investigation weren’t protected by the legal professional privilege.

The SFO’s criminal investigation into ENRC started in April 2013. It was triggered by whistleblower complaints about the mining company’s operations in Kazakhstan and Africa.

ENRC claimed the privilege against the SFO’s requests for employee interview notes and other documents produced during an earlier internal investigation conducted by outside counsel.

The case went to the High Court in 2017 after the SFO decided to fight what it saw as spurious privilege claims that led to protracted discovery negotiations with target companies.

But the legal community criticized the High Court’s ruling and ENRC appealed.

The appellate court Wednesday agreed with the company.

___

Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog.

Share this post

LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter

Comments are closed for this article!