Legal professional privilege
The ECJ has held that, to be protected by legal professional privilege, written communications must be exchanged with ‘an independent lawyer, that is to say one who is not bound to his client by a relationship of employment’. The requirement of independence means the absence of any employment relationship between the lawyer and his client, so that legal professional privilege does not cover exchanges within a company or group with in-house lawyers. An in-house lawyer, despite his enrolment with a Bar or Law Society and the professional ethical obligations to which he is, as a result, subject, does not enjoy the same degree of independence from his employer as a lawyer working in an external law firm does in relation to his client. Consequently, an in-house lawyer is less able to deal effectively with any conflicts between his professional obligations and the aims of his client: Akzo Nobel Chemicals & Akcros Chemicals v Commission & Ors (Competition)  EUECJ C-550/07.
5th Edition » | Chapter 12