If I inform my solicitor that my wife had committed a fraud in the past (+£50,000 HMRC Child Benefit) is my solicitor obliged to keep this confidential as I requested or is she/he by law compelled to report the matter to the police or other involved parties? I was unaware of this fraud and my wife has verbally admitted this. How do I protect myself from any future claim from her otherwise. We are about to separate/divorce and I am concerned at being implicated United Kingdom, England

  • I think the part you need to clarify is what kind of "claim from her" you're concerned about. I can't imagine any way that notifying your lawyer would go very far in protecting you if she implicated you.
    – bdb484
    Oct 5, 2020 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


Your solicitor owes privilege to you

What you tell them for the purpose of getting legal advice or litigation (which divorce is) is privileged which means it can’t be subpoenaed or disclosed unless you or your lawyer voluntarily decide to do so. Your lawyer does not need your permission to disclose it but, if they do, they have to have a genuine belief that it’s in your interest to do so.

Now, you need to consider what you actually know: your wife said she committed fraud. People have been known to lie; even to their spouses while going through a divorce.

  • My wife has admitted it and I have total proof . Paperwork & Files etc. No debate - she committed fraud. My question is does the solicitor by law have to declare to police / authorities that she/he knows about this crime. What is the legal requirement on my solicitor. I have not given him/her the details yet but am concerned that if I do they may have to disclose it. How do ensure that I am not implicated? My wife is capable of such a thing.
    – Tom
    Oct 5, 2020 at 10:31
  • Does lawyer's "genuine belief" override explicit instruction not to disclose, or vice versa?
    – Greendrake
    Oct 5, 2020 at 11:16
  • @Greendrake your lawyer is expected to use professional judgement- they are your advisor and advocate, not your agent. So yes, in extreme circumstances, they can act against your explicit instructions.
    – Dale M
    Oct 5, 2020 at 20:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .