Martin & Martin and Anor (No. 2) 2014 FamCA 232

A couple had been in dispute about a property matter and the wife’s firm of lawyers issued a subpoena to obtain confidential information. The husband submitted that this was a classic example of “fishing” as the firm did not know the answers and was seeking to build a case.  The judge found that the privilege of confidentiality belongs to the client, and a solicitor is bound by the privilege of confidentiality unless and until such time as the privilege is waived either impliedly or expressly.

The judge found that “fishing” can be argued where the pursuit of information is random, is unguided or the pursuer has no case but seeks to build a case.  However in this case the firm knew what it was looking for to fill in the missing details.

The judge ruled that the husband provide information requested in the subpoena.