On November 29th, the Court of Appeal for British Columbia held that a party must voluntarily inject into the litigation legal advice it received or its understanding of the law before waiver of solicitor-client privilege can be implied. It is not enough, according to the Court, for the privilege holder’s state of mind to be relevant. The Court therefore held that a party had not waived privilege over legal advice obtained that related to a misrepresentation by another that it pleaded it had reasonably relied upon.
The British Columbia Court of Appeal has recently published a June 11th oral judgement on an implied waiver of privilege claim and a motion for production of non-party documents.
On the implied waiver claim, the Court held that a pleading by a plaintiff that alleged it would not have entered a settlement agreement had it known about certain fraudulent conduct did not give rise to an implied waiver of solicitor-client privilege in communications related to the settlement. It stressed that a mere allegation as to a state of affairs on which a party may have received legal advice does not warrant setting aside solicitor-client privilege.
On the affirming the chambers judge’s refusal to order production from a non-party, the Court stated, “A chambers judge has a discretion to refuse production of documents that are of marginal relevance where other documents relevant to the same issue have already been produced: see Peter Scherle Holdings Ltd. v. Gibson Pass Resort Inc., 2007 BCSC 770.”