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Sent SAR notice to DLA on 19/09/2000.

Received reply asking for £10, Which I sent as a postal order.

Received reply dated 13/11/2000 (more than 40 days hey), quoting The Data Protection Act 1998, schedule 7, paragraph 10, stating that these data are subject to legal professional privilege, therefore these data are not disclosable to me.

Also, in the remainder of their letter they seem to have gone to great length and in unusual detail in order to justify their decision.

They have not returned my £10 postal order.

Could anyone please tell me the definition of "legal professional Privilege".

All answers kindly appreciated.

Steve Pooley.

-- (stephen.pooley@ntlworld.com), November 16, 2000


Hi Steve,

It seems that all solicitor's are able to do this under the Act. Or that is what they are telling us anyway. I got a similar letter from Walker Morris (Solicitors for the Halifax). They also quoted "Legal Professional Privilege" and they did not return my £10 either. It seem that the privilege is that of the solicitor's client i.e. the lender and so it is up to the lender to claim the exemption. Again it all seems engineered in their favour doesn't it! Why on earth do they even bother registering under the Act?

Walker Morris have informed me that they have been in touch with the Data Protection Commissioner's office and that they have confirmed that they cannot release information without the consent of their client (the lender). Walker Morris have now forarded a copy of their file to Halifax PLC and are awaiting their instructions. So that's possibly why they've kept the £10.

It would be best to confirm with DLA whether they are following the same procedure. Based on lenders' previous actions what do you rate the odds on you or I getting any important information with their consent?


-- Tony Hayter (Tony@Hayter.com), November 16, 2000.

I have put below this message a definition I found as to what legal professional privilege means. I've read this over and over again this is my "plain English" definition.

Your lender has information on you on their computers, information which identifies you as a person, ie your name, address, account numbers etc. Under the Data Protection Act you are entitled to see what information the lender holds about you.

The lender has employed an agent, in this case DLA, in order to get legal advice about what to do about your case. Although you’re mentioned in these letters, and as such will be on DLA’s computer systems, because DLA were consulted on a professional basis for advice, these are privileged and as such you’re not entitled to see them.

You could turn this round. If DLA sent you a SARN, you wouldn’t be obliged to send them details of correspondence between you and your solicitor just because their name might be mentioned because its confidential.

I hope that DLA have written to the Data Protection Commissioner, because if the DPC agrees with you that you should see the documentation, it will help repossessee’s a great deal in finding out whether or not the lender has acted in a proper manner or not.

Hope this information helps. Please note, I am not a solicitor or have the benefit of any legal training. My response here is merely my own interpretation, which may of course be wrong.


Documents protected by legal professional privilege fall into two categories:

1. Documents which are protected regardless of whether proceedings are contemplated or not. Documents containing confidential communication between a party and his lawyers who are consulted on a professional basis carry privilege even though such consultation may not have arisen whilst litigation was ongoing pending, or contemplated.

2. Documents which are protected by privilege only if litigation was contemplated or pending when they were made or when they came into existence.

Communications between a party's lawyer and a third party. Such documents are generally protected by privilege exceptionally instructions to an expert whose report is used in evidence is not protected by privilege.

Communications between a party personally and a third party. Such documents are protected by privilege only if the dominant purpose for which the document was prepared was for submission to a legal advisor in view of contemplated or pending litigation.

Legal professional privilege is lost if the document came into existence in furtherance of a fraud or illegal purpose.

-- pendle (pendle@amun-ra.demon.co.uk), November 16, 2000.

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