*Financial Reporting Council Ltd v Sports Direct International plc

Privilege – Legal professional privilege. The production of documents to a regulator by a regulated person, solely for the purposes of a confidential investigation by the regulator into the conduct of the regulated person, was not an infringement of any legal professional privilege of clients of the regulated person in respect of those documents. The same was true of the production of documents to the regulator by a client. The Chancery Division so ruled, in allowing the first application to the court of its kind by the Financial Reporting Council Ltd (the FRC), to compel the respondent, Sports Direct International plc (SDI), to produce certain documents, which included some withheld on the ground of privilege. The application had been made under reg 10 of, and Sch 2(2) to, the Statutory Auditors and Third Country Auditors Regulations 2016, SI 2016/649; and para 10(b) of the FRC's Audit Enforcement Procedure. The documents were required in the context of the FRC's investigation into the conduct of an accounting firm and an individual at that firm, concerning an audit of SDI's 2016 financial statements.

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