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Legal Minds

30 March 2017 / by / in

Don’t Rely on Assurances of Anonymity or Confidentiality

The Trojan Horse plot, which came to light in 2014, centred on allegations that hard-line Muslims were planning to seize control of a number of Birmingham schools.

Former Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism commander, Peter Clarke, carried out a Government investigation speaking to dozens of staff anonymously. Because disciplinary action is now on foot against certain head teachers as a result of these investigations the anonymity of the “whistle-blowers” is likely to be breached, despite assurances to the contrary. In English law, a defendant has a fundamental right to see and know the identity of his accusers.

The case of the RBS Rights Issue Litigation [2016] EWHC 3161 (ch) is also interesting because those interviewed in the US by RBS lawyers in relation to their internal investigations were told that the interview notes would be, and would be kept, confidential and subject to client attorney privilege. However, the English court ruled they were subject to disclosure in English litigation. Accordingly, even if assurances of confidentiality and anonymity are made by those ostensibly entitled to give such assurances, they may not be honoured.

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John specialises in commercial and civil fraud litigation. Admitted as a solicitor in 1983, John worked in private practice and in-house for a leading life assurance company before establishing Bivonas with Antony Brown in 1997. John has extensive experience in a wide range of courts and tribunals including the UK Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and the Divisional Court. He has been involved in a number of important reported cases.