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The importance of legal professional privilege

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Last week the Federal Court overturned a $30 million tax bill issued to an Australian business man Garry Donoghue, finding that the Commissioner of Taxation (“the ATO”) had used information allegedly supplied by Mr Donoghue’s former lawyer in a “conscious maladministration”.

The ATO has indicated it will appeal the decision.

The case highlights the importance of legal professional privilege.

Where communications between a lawyer and client are for the “dominant purpose of seeking or providing legal advice or for use in existing or anticipated legal proceedings”, those communications are said to attract legal professional privilege meaning that they are protected from disclosure.

It is important that legal professional privilege is protected to enable a client to provide complete and uncensored instructions to their lawyer to enable the lawyer to give.

For more information, please contact our Dispute Resolution & Litigation team by email litigation@mst.com.au or by telephone +61 8540 0200.