Professional Privilege

Professional Privilege in Europe

Jurisdictions where the obligation to preserve the professional privilege is solely confined to legal professionals who are members of the Bar

Within the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Sweden, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland (advocates), Slovak Republic and Slovenia

Within the European Economic Area and Switzerland: Liechtenstein and Switzerland

Within some jurisdictions from the current and future Accession States: Croatia,

Jurisdictions where professional privilege relates to salaried legal professionals provided that they are members of the Bar

Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom (Scotland), Iceland, Norway and Poland (Legal Advisers).

Jurisdictions where clients’ professional privilege is not confined solely to legal professionals who are members of the Bar

Ireland, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom (England and Wales, Northern Ireland)

Note: the extent to which the recognition of professional privilege to persons who are neither solicitors nor barristers in England and Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland may be determined by reference to the nature of the professional legal relationship between the parties. The communication about the privilege must be made to or by a lawyer during the course of a professional legal relationship or with the intention of establishing one.

In an English case (New Victoria Hospital v. Ryan [1993] IRLR202, Mr. Justice Tucker held that “privilege should be strictly confined to legal advisers such as solicitors and counsel who are professionally qualified, who are members of professional bodies, who are subject to the rules and etiquette of their professions, and who owe a duty to the court.”

Definition of Committee of Privileges in England

A standing committee of the whole House of Lords, presided over by the chairman of committees and re-appointed at the beginning of each session. It is concerned . with claims to peerages and the privileges of peers.

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