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Collateral Waiver: When Voluntary Disclosure Has Unintended Consequences

In Alexander Gorbachev v Andrey Grigoryevich Guriev [2024] EWHC 622,[1] the Commercial Court held that the claimant’s voluntary disclosure of a privileged chronology originally produced by its barrister gave rise to a collateral waiver of: (i) an updated draft of that chronology; as well as (ii) all documents containing, recording or otherwise evidencing the claimant’s instructions in respect of the chronology.


The underlying proceedings concern a long-running £1 billion dispute between Mr Gorbachev (the Claimant) and Mr Guriev (the Defendant) concerning their interests in a Russia-based fertiliser company, PJSC PhosAgro.

Back in October 2012, the Claimant instructed a barrister (Mr Fitzgerald), who prepared a chronology of events (the Original Chronology) based on information given to him by the Claimant at meetings and over the telephone. Later, on 21 January 2013, the Claimant instructed solicitors, around which time Mr Fitzgerald provided the solicitors with the Original Chronology, which he then subsequently revised on 5 February 2013 (the Revised Chronology). It appears not to have been disputed in the present application that both the Original Chronology and the Revised Chronology attracted legal professional privilege.

Some almost 10 years later, the Claimant voluntarily disclosed the Original Chronology to the

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Redactions and Waiver of Privilege: High Court Provides Guidance

The long-running battle between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC) has hit the headlines again.  The most recent Judgment (which can be found here) concerns ENRC’s challenge to certain redactions to a report disclosed by the SFO.

The report in question (the Byrne Report) set out the SFO’s findings following an investigation into allegations that employees of the SFO improperly leaked sensitive information acquired in the course of its investigation into ENRC to journalists and other third parties.  The SFO disclosed the Byrne Report to ENRC, but with redactions made to it on the basis of three distinct grounds:

  • Privilege;
  • Irrelevance and confidentiality; and
  • Public interest immunity (PII), as certified by the then director of the SFO.

ENRC made an application to challenge the redactions on each of these grounds, and the High Court considered these in turn.


ENRC made two substantive arguments regarding the redactions made on the basis of privilege.  ENRC argued that either the High Court should inspect the redacted material to determine whether privilege had been properly claimed, or, alternatively, the SFO should be ordered to provide an additional explanation for the basis on which it asserted

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