Interesting Elements of Attorney-Client Privilege

legal books and gavel

First of all, what is attorney-client privilege?

Attorney-client privilege is the principle that a lawyer cannot present confidential communications with a client in court as evidence without the expressed consent from that client. Because it is based on past court precedents, it is a common principle in law.  Lawyers regard attorney-client privilege as a principal concept that enables them to do their jobs by providing clients the assurance of privacy, and it is respectfully regarded with as a core concept.

Typically, this privilege relates to information relayed to an attorney directly by a client and information received from a different source is not protected by this. As an example, if a client’s unlawful act was filmed by a security camera, he or she wouldn’t cannot be protected by attorney-client privilege since another source could confirm that information.

Exceptions to Attorney Client Privilege

justice through lawAn attorney does not have to receive payment from the client for attorney-client privilege to be in effect and, therefore, for that person to be considered a client.  However, there are exceptions to this. An example would be if someone is speaking with a friend who is a lawyer to get their legal opinion on a matter, they don’t automatically receive attorney-client privilege. The information provided becomes confidential when the client is legally represented or is seeking representation.

In very rare circumstances, courts can order attorneys to reveal confidential information relayed by their clients. Because they are officers of the court, a lawyer must comply and is compelled to provide the requested information should this rare situation occur. However, a judge cannot needlessly require an attorney to break their client’s confidence. Most often, when the courts do ask an attorney to break privilege without a client’s consent, it’s because of a suspicion a crime or fraud that is being committed or that there is real intent to commit a crime.