Blanket legal professional privilege claims are made when all documents in a particular location, storage device or in your possession are claimed to be privileged without the documents having been identified to verify the claim. We will not normally accept blanket claims of privilege.
If you plan to review the documents to ascertain if they are subject to privilege, this is not a blanket claim. In this situation, we will work with you to develop a timetable for you to make your claim.
If a blanket claim is made, we will request that you:
- complete our approved forms for each claim
- set out the facts in respect of each document on which you base the claim if you refuse to complete the forms
- explain the nature of the documents – for example, documents that evidence transactions, including contracts, conveyances, declarations of trust and receipts will not generally be protected by privilege.
We may issue a formal notice to you if you refuse to make out your claim and request that this information is given to us in writing.
Example – Blanket claims
As part of an audit process, ACoy Pty Ltd (ACoy) is approached by our compliance team seeking access to company records relating to the last two years.
Sufficient time is given for ACoy to check its records and make arrangements to hand over the documents to our team for inspection and photocopying.
At the time of the handover, an ACoy director informs the team that all legal files have not been provided because they are covered by privilege.
In response to ACoy's blanket claim for privilege over the legal files, the team explains that ACoy should complete our approved forms for each individual claim.
The team also questions ACoy about the nature of its documents – for example, whether any of the documents merely evidence transactions. Where the team is not satisfied that the documents are privileged, they request that those documents be sealed in a container and a schedule prepared of its contents.
After receiving a list of documents from ACoy over which privilege is claimed, the team decides that the claim should be challenged. They may attempt to negotiate with ACoy but not attempt to access the documents until either the claim is abandoned, waived or dismissed by a court.
End of example