PRIVILEGE NO DEFENCE TO NOTICE REQUIRING PRODUCTION OF CLIENT’S PRIVILEGED DOCUMENTS TO REGULATOR

The High Court has held that an audit client could not withhold documents on grounds of privilege when responding to a notice requiring the production of documents in connection with an investigation into the auditor’s conduct: The Financial Reporting Council Ltd v Sports Direct International Plc [2018] EWHC 2284 (Ch).

The decision suggests that, where privileged documents are provided to a regulator for the purposes of an investigation into the conduct of a regulated person, and the privilege belongs to a client of the regulated person, there is no infringement of the client’s privilege. Accordingly, the fact that documents are subject to a client’s privilege will not justify a refusal to provide the documents to a regulator in response to a demand under its statutory powers, whether or not the statute can be taken to override legal professional privilege.

The decision also confirms (though it was not actually in doubt) that non-privileged documents do not become privileged merely by being attached to privileged lawyer/client communications for the purpose of giving or obtaining legal advice.

For our full briefing on the decision, please click here.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES IRAN SANCTIONS WAIVERS, BUT SIGNALS DESIRE FOR CHANGES

Following the announcement of the new strategies on Iran in October 2017, on January 12, 2018, the Trump administration announced that it will continue to waive the application of certain nuclear sanctions under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) as a “last chance.” In a statement, the President states that he intends to pursue a supplemental agreement with European allies of the US, and in the absence of such an agreement, the United States will ultimately withdraw from the JCPOA. Continue reading

US state department extends Iran JCPOA waivers but emphasises Human Rights, missile issues

On May 17, 2017, the day on which the US State Department made its semi-annual report to Congress under the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act of 2010 (CISADA), the State Department announced that the current administration continues to waive sanctions as contemplated by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Nevertheless, the State Department report condemns Iran as having "compiled one of the world's most egregious records on human rights," and on the same day, the Treasury Department announced new sanctions related to Iran's ballistic missile program, outside of the JCPOA framework. Thus, the actions taken sent a mixed message about the new administration's intentions with respect to the US's Iranian sanctions program.

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