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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Dec 1, 2015

Since the days of the Roman Republic, a form of attorney-client privilege has been in place to ensure the client of an attorney is protected from any testimony. In general, it states that a person who seeks counsel from a lawyer should be completely free of any fear that private matters will be uncovered. This ensures that you may speak frankly and openly to your lawyer, and can disclose all relevant information about your case.

This means that your lawyers cannot share information that you give them, but there are exceptions to the application of this privilege. The most common exceptions include:

  • Death of a Client. When a client passes away, the attorneys involved may breach the privilege if legal actions are taking place between heirs, beneficiaries or other parties making a claim on the estate.
  • Fiduciary Duty. This relates to a corporation’s right to assert the attorney-client privilege. The corporation’s shareholders can be privy to information that might otherwise be protected by the corporation’s attorney client privilege.
  • Crime or Fraud Exception. If a client attempts to enlist an attorney to assist with the commission of a crime or fraud, or the concealment of a crime or fraud, then the information is not protected by the attorney-client privilege. If the client has already committed the crime and then seeks legal advice, it’s protected as long as the client does not consider covering up the crime. The attorney can also disclose information to prevent a crime that could reasonably result in injury to financial interests of another, reasonably certain death or substantial bodily injury.
  • Common Interest Exception. If you and another party are both represented by the same attorney in a legal matter, neither of you may assert attorney-client privilege in future legal matters if they pertain to the same incident.

In general, your rights to privacy is assured when you seek legal counsel. These are some of the general exceptions to the rule, and others may exist, depending on your jurisdiction. If you’re facing litigation, make an appointment with an experienced attorney.