Litigation privilege, dominant purpose and deception: Ahuja Investments Ltd v Victorygame Ltd [2021] EWHC 1543 (Ch)

09.06.2021

Mr Robin Vos (sitting as a Deputy Judge of the High Court) has handed down a judgment in Ahuja Investments Ltd v Victorygame Ltd [2021] EWHC 1543 (Ch).

In this case, party A (Ahuja) had sent a letter of claim to party B (its former solicitors) under the Pre-Action Protocol for Professional Negligence. B sent a letter of response via its professional indemnity insurers to A. In fact, A had no intention of pursuing a claim against B; although the letter of claim gave the misleading impression to B that A had such an intention. The true purpose of the letter of claim was to elicit some information from B which A might use in litigation against C (the Victorygame). A knew that B would not provide the information voluntarily. C sought disclosure from A of the letter of claim and the letter of response. A maintained that they were protected by litigation privilege as against C.

One of the central issues for decision by the Court was whether there exists a principle of law which prevents a claim to privilege where one party is induced to provide information or documentation to the other party which they would not have provided had they known the true purpose of the request and where the true purpose was deliberately concealed or suppressed.

Mr Robin Vos declined to find that there was such a principle and to extend it to situations involving third parties.

Nicholas Trompeter QC appeared for the Appellants.

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