[The following paragraphs of AS 2505, amended to read as follows, will be effective for audits of fiscal years ending on or after December 15, 2017. See PCAOB Release No. 2017-001.PDF The current standard can be found here.]

.13     A lawyer's refusal to furnish the information requested in an inquiry letter either in writing or orally (see paragraphs .09 and .10) would be a limitation on the scope of the audit sufficient to preclude an unqualified opinion (see paragraphs .05 and .06 of AS 3105, Departures from Unqualified Opinions and Other Reporting Circumstances).7 A lawyer's response to such an inquiry and the procedures set forth in paragraph .05 provide the auditor with sufficient evidential matter to satisfy himself concerning the accounting for and reporting of pending and threatened litigation, claims and assessments. The auditor obtains sufficient evidential matter to satisfy himself concerning reporting for those unasserted claims and assessments required to be disclosed in financial statements from the foregoing procedures and the lawyer's specific acknowledgement of his responsibility to his client in respect of disclosure obligations (see paragraph .09g). This approach with respect to unasserted claims and assessments is necessitated by the public interest in protecting the confidentiality of lawyer-client communications.

7     A refusal to respond should be distinguished from an inability to form a conclusion with respect to certain matters of judgment (see paragraph .14). Also, lawyers outside the United States sometimes follow practices at variance with those contemplated by this section to the extent that different procedures from those outlined herein may be necessary. In such circumstances, the auditor should exercise judgment in determining whether alternative procedures are adequate to comply with the requirements of this section.

.14     A lawyer may be unable to respond concerning the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome of litigation, claims, and assessments or the amount or range of potential loss, because of inherent uncertainties. Factors influencing the likelihood of an unfavorable outcome may sometimes not be within a lawyer's competence to judge; historical experience of the entity in similar litigation or the experience of other entities may not be relevant or available; and the amount of the possible loss frequently may vary widely at different stages of litigation. Consequently, a lawyer may not be able to form a conclusion with respect to such matters. In such circumstances, the auditor ordinarily will conclude that the financial statements are affected by an uncertainty concerning the outcome of a future event which is not susceptible of reasonable estimation, and should look to the guidance in AS 3105.28 through .32 to determine the effect, if any, of the lawyer's response on the auditor's report.

[Effective pursuant to SEC Release No. 34-81916, File No. PCAOB-2017-01 (October 23, 2017)]