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legal professional privilege

Australian financial services giant AMP and its solicitors Clayton Utz have "surrendered" in their objections to producing notes of meetings which they claimed were subject to legal professional privilege. ASIC's position is simple: it has wide ranging powers to compel the release of documents and it will accept only a narrow and strict definition of legal professional privilege.

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Legal professional privilege used to be simple: if a document or thing came to the attention of a lawyer in the course of, or in during preparation for, litigation it was privileged. That was it. Simple, clear and everyone knew where they stood. Then some twit decided to invent "legal advice privilege" which tends to the view that anything said between a lawyer and his client is privileged. Then no one knew where they stood because, in England and Wales and therefore in other jurisdictions following that, behind all of this lay two fundamental principles: a solicitor is an officer of the Court and must not mislead the Court and legal professional privilege breaks when a client attempts to involve the solicitor in the commission of a crime. Advocates of legal advice privilege were not supportive of that.

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