Was legal advice privileged where a conversation as to the advice was overheard in the Old Bank of England public house and the advice was about making an employee redundant who was complaining of discrimination?
Yes, on a proper interpretation of the advice given, held the Court of Appeal, in Curless v Shell International Limited.
The advice had originally been given in an e-mail between lawyers. It was the sort of advice which employment lawyers give "day in, day out" as to the risks involved in cases where an employer wishes to consider for redundancy an employee in respect of whom there are circumstances which may result in the dismissal being complained of as amounting to discrimination.
It was not advice to act in an underhand or iniquitous way. The advice in the e-mail could not be tainted by a conversation involving gossip from someone else after the event.
Thanks to Tim Kenward of 7 Harrington Street Chambers for preparing this case summary.