Case Law Update: Testing the limits of ‘without prejudice’ privilege

Dispute Resolution

Family - 1 minute read

The Court of Appeal has recently confirmed the law in this area of what is and what is not admissible when it comes to ‘without prejudice’ correspondence and discussions.  The idea of such communications is to allow parties to have a covering of confidentiality to facilitate settlement negotiations. 

In this case, the Defendant landlord’s argument that the discussions were not covered was accepted; the judge determined that the communications did not qualify as settlement discussion. 

Allowing the appeal, Vos LJ declared all privileged communications inadmissible in this instance. Reference was made to the broad view that should be adopted in relation to the limited of what is to be covered by the privilege , as set out by Lord Neuberger inOfulue v Bossert[2009] 1 AC 990.  So, encouraging free communication is paramount in settlement discussions.

The case? Suh & Anor v Mace(UK) Ltd [2016] EWCA Civ 4.

encouraging free communication is paramount in settlement discussions, and as such, save for any legitimate instances of abuse, privilege will be afforded to settlement communications in their entirety.