Court of Appeal judgement means insurers will have difficulty obtaining confidential information in fraud cases

Quinn has lost a court case which will have major impliations for insurers attempting to obtain confidential information in fraud cases.

Quinn had tried to obtain confidential documents realting to a solicitors' firm being investigated for fraud.

The documents had been seized by the Law Society, which was bringing discplinary charges against two of the solicitors.

As the professional indemnity insurer, Quinn tried to get the Law Soceity to hand over the information. But both the High Court and this week the Court of Appeal ruled against Quinn, ruling that the documents were confidential and privelleged.

Nichola Evans, partner at law firm Browne Jacobson and a specialist in professional indemnity issues, said: “This case is an important reminder to insurers that they will not be able to simply rely on polices to gain access to confidential information. Confidential and privileged information cannot be shared with any insurer without the client’s consent.

"This decision means that whilst insurers will still be able to gain access to important documents held by a firm of solicitors it is imperative that they seek sound advice from their advisers before making any such requests.

"Success will largely depend on the scope and reasoning behind any request and whether the documents in question are in fact subject to privilege and confidentiality.”