Unveiling the Limits of Attorney-Client Privilege

Posted by Bill Gallivan | Fri, Apr 12, 2024

What is Attorney-Client Privilege

Attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects the confidentiality of communications between an attorney and their client. It is an important legal principle that encourages open and honest communication between clients and their lawyers. The privilege ensures that clients can freely discuss their legal matters with their attorneys without fear of their discussions being used against them in court.

To establish attorney-client privilege, certain conditions must be met. First, there must be a confidential communication between the attorney and the client. This means that the communication must be intended to be private and not shared with anyone else. Second, the communication must be made for the purpose of seeking legal advice or representation. Finally, the privilege must be claimed and not waived by the client.

Exceptions to Attorney-Client Privilege

While attorney-client privilege is a fundamental principle, there are certain exceptions where the privilege may not apply. These exceptions allow for the disclosure of privileged information in specific circumstances. It is important to be aware of these exceptions to fully understand the limits of attorney-client privilege.

Crime or Fraud Exception

The crime or fraud exception is an important limitation of attorney-client privilege. Under this exception, if a communication between an attorney and a client is in furtherance of a crime or fraud, the privilege does not apply. This means that the communication can be disclosed and used as evidence in court proceedings.

Third-Party Presence Exception

The third-party presence exception is another limitation to attorney-client privilege. This exception applies when a third party is present during a communication between an attorney and a client. If a third party is present, the privilege may not apply, as the presence of a third party can potentially waive the privilege.

Waiver of Attorney-Client Privilege

Waiver of attorney-client privilege occurs when a client voluntarily discloses a privileged communication to a third party. Once the privilege is waived, the disclosed communication can be used against the client in court proceedings. It is essential for clients to understand the consequences of waiving their privilege and to make informed decisions regarding the disclosure of privileged information.

Topics: Best Practices, Privilege Log