The ATO has been consulting on ‘improving’ lawyers ‘scope of engagement’ agreements – to deal with, what they see, as problems with ‘legal professional privilege’ (LPP) claims. Effectively, they misunderstand who the privilege belongs to, and they presume to influence the terms on which lawyers are retained by clients. This idea got legs in the 30 November 2018 NTLG meeting [see related Tax Technical article setting out the ‘Key Messages’ document, including LPP details, in Appendix 1]. Lawyers have ‘pushed back’ on these suggestions, for reasons, including those which I canvas below.
See below for the Consultation Document, in full, and comments on it. Also set out, below, is an extract from the NTLG ‘Key Messages’ document, which cites examples of LPP claims, that the ATO thinks, justify this consultation.