Tim Dutton QC and Charles Béar QC of Fountain Court scored a double success on consecutive days on behalf of Kazakhstan billionaire Mukhtar Ablyazov, who faces claims for over $4 billion from nationalised BTA Bank.

Since February Mr Ablyazov has been in hiding rather than face imprisonment for failing to disclose assets in contempt of court, a finding which he is now appealing.  He maintains communication with his solicitors Addleshaw Goddard LLP from an unknown location using special email and dial-in facilities.

On 15 May the Commercial Court refused to require his solicitors to provide details of those facilities.  Mr Justice Teare accepted the argument of Tim Dutton QC that the client’s right to legal advice overrode the interests of the claimant.  He also approved the principle set out in the leading textbook, “The Law of Privilege”, edited by Fountain Court colleague Bankim Thanki QC.

On 16 May the Court of Appeal refused to make Mr Ablyazov’s appeal conditional on his giving himself up and providing information as ordered by the Commercial Court.  Lord Justice Moore-Bick accepted the argument of Charles Béar QC that this would be against the interests of justice and against the trend of European Court of Human Rights decisions.