Information Powers: TMA70/S20: Relevant Lawyers (Barristers, Solicitors, Advocates & Other Legal Representatives)
Officers can not issue notices to relevant lawyers. Notices to relevant lawyers can only be issued by HMRC Commissioners.
A relevant lawyer is
- A barrister
- An advocate (i.e. a member of the Faculty of Advocates in Scotland)
- A solicitor
- A registered foreign lawyer or a European lawyer
- Any other legal representative communications with whom may be the subject of a claim to professional privilege in accordance with section 190, Legal Services Act 2007 (such as a licensed conveyancer, a trade mark or patents attorney, a legal executive or a law costs draftsman)
Communications with a legal representative may be privileged where the legal representative is authorized by an approved regulator in relation to a reserved legal activity.
Reserved legal activities are:-
- the exercise of a right of audience;
- the conduct of litigation;
- reserved instrument activities;
- probate activities;
- notarial activities;
- the administration of oaths.
Approved regulators are:-
- The Law Society
- The General Council of the Bar
- The Master of the Faculties
- The Institute of Legal Executives
- The Council for Licensed Conveyancers
- The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys
- The Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys
- The Association of Law Costs Draftsmen
Where you consider that such a notice is necessary under Section 20(1) or 20(3) submit the file with a brief report to contact link, including a draft schedule of documents required before any action (formal or informal) is taken. Similarly a report should be made before any steps are taken to issue a notice under Section 20(3) to a person other than a relevant lawyer for documents relevant to the liability of a relevant lawyer.
Notices issued by HMRC Commissioners do not require a General or Special Commissioner’s consent nor a precursor letter. If an informal request is made the documents requested will not attract the protection of S20BB(1).
A relevant lawyer is not obliged to deliver or make available, without the client’s consent, documents which are covered by legal professional privilege EM10165.