Mr Shlosberg, a Russian businessman domiciled in England who was
made bankrupt in January of last year, has obtained an injunction
restraining Dechert LLP from acting on
behalf of the main claimant, Avonwick Holdings Limited
(Avonwick) in proceedings in which he is a
Dechert were previously acting as solicitors for both
Shlosberg's Trustees in Bankruptcy (Trustees)
and Avonwick, in the ongoing litigation. Dechert reviewed a large
quantity of privileged documents provided by Mr Shlosberg to the
Avonwick subsequently wanted to rely on the information Dechert
had learned from that review in the separate ongoing proceedings
involving Mr Shlosberg.
Mr Shlosberg sought an order of the court that Dechert cease to
act for Avonwick on the basis that the information Dechert had
learned was privileged.
The court therefore had to determine whether a bankrupt's
right to privilege in respect of information contained in documents
within the Trustees' possession passed to the Trustee by virtue
of his bankruptcy.
The court held that they did not. Mr Schlosberg was therefore
entitled to prevent the review and dissemination of his privileged
information, including by Dechert in the context of the separate
proceedings as opposed to in its capacity as solicitors advising
Dechert had already reviewed the documents in question in detail
and had not put any safeguards in place in order to protect
privilege i.e. information barriers or separate teams for each
instruction. Mr Justice Arnold was therefore of the view that the
only way to sufficiently protect Mr Shlosberg's right to
privilege was to injunct Dechert from acting for Avonwick.
An interesting High Court decision, which indicates that a
bankrupt will retain his right to legal professional privilege,
even in circumstances where a trustee in bankruptcy has been
appointed over his estate.
Witnesses can, in various circumstances, be subpoenaed by the Courts of overseas jurisdictions to attend to give evidence by way of depositions within that jurisdiction. So why not take that one step further and ask a foreign court to subpoena the witness to give evidence by live satellite video link to a Court in London? This would be the next best thing to having the witness present in Court. Indeed, the Commercial Court is increasingly amenable to evidence being given in this way (albeit on a
Gratuitous alienation is one of the most familiar parts of our law and yet relatively rarely seems to come to court. That may be because the law is so well understood that there is little left to debate...
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