You might hesitate to disclose everything to your solicitor if you are a criminal defendant. You may fear that your lawyer will reveal your secrets to the authorities or the public. But, the attorney-client privileges safeguards the privacy of your communication. And this is the first time anyone else can hear what you’ve discussed with your lawyer. Here are five crucial facts about the attorney-client privilege that you should know:
The Attorney-Client Privilege Protects Confidential Communications
This attorney-client privileges applies to all communications between lawyer and client. These include conversations, emails, letters, and other written or oral communications.
But, the privilege only applies to confidential communications related to legal representation. The privilege may not protect clients from disclosing information other than legal matters.
The Attorney-Client Privilege Belongs to the Client
The attorney-client privileges is the client’s right, not the attorney’s. The client can waive the privilege and allow their attorney to disclose information. The attorney cannot waive the privilege without the client’s consent.
The attorney is no longer bound by confidentiality if the client waives the privilege. In this case, the lawyer may disclose the information in court or to other parties.
The Attorney-Client Privilege Has Exceptions
While the attorney-client privileges is broad, it’s not absolute. Exceptions to the privilege allow an attorney to disclose information in certain circumstances. For example, if the client communicates their plan to harm someone, the attorney may report this to the authorities.
Also, if the client discloses information that suggests they have committed a crime, the attorney may be required to disclose it. This prevents the client from using the attorney-client privileges as a shield to perpetuate a crime or fraud.
The Attorney-Client Privilege May Not Apply to Joint Clients
Sometimes, many clients may keep the same attorney for legal representation, such as a defense solicitor in London. The attorney-client privileges may not apply to all clients in these situations.
If one client waives the privilege, the defense solicitor may be required to disclose information to the other client. Similarly, if the clients have competing interests, the attorney may be required to disclose information relevant to both clients’ interests. Joint clients need to discuss these issues with their attorneys to understand the extent of the privilege and how it applies to their cases.
The Attorney-Client Privilege Extends After Legal Representation Ends
The attorney-client privileges extends beyond the end of legal representation. This means the attorney is still bound by confidentiality rules even after the case. But, the privilege may not apply to information unrelated to the legal representation.
For example, if a client shares information about a future business plan, this information will receive no protection. This is because it has no relationship with legal representation.
As said, the attorney-client privilege is vital to the legal profession. The goal is to establish a personal relationship between clients and their attorneys. This enables the client to communicate freely with their lawyer without fear of disclosure.
If you’re facing criminal charges, the attorney-client privilege can be a powerful tool to protect your secrets. By considering these facts, you can confidently approach the legal process.
Consult a qualified lawyer if you still have questions or concerns about the attorney-client privilege. They can provide further advice and guidance on your specific case.