Common law, the Data Protection Act 1998, Art. 8 of the ECHR and Finance Act 2008,Sch. 36, para. 23, give protection to legally privileged documents. HMRC cannot obtain any documents in respect of which the legal professional is entitled to legal professional privilege. If the legal professional asserts that the documents requested are protected by their client’s legal privilege, HMRC will quote the part of the judgment in the case of R v Special Commissioners and another ex-parte Morgan Grenfell & Co Ltd [2002] BTC 223 where, Lord Hoffman, when commenting on the case of R v IR Commrs ex parte Taylor (No. 2) [1990] BTC 281, said:

‘In consequence, I do not think that the disclosure of the documents by Mr Taylor [the solicitor] in confidence for the limited purpose of determining his own tax liability infringed any LPP vested in his clients. If I am wrong about this and technically it did, then I think that to that limited extent she statute can be construed as having authorised it.’

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