What Is Solicitor-Client Privilege in Edmonton, and How Does It Work?

What Is Solicitor-Client Privilege in Edmonton, and How Does It Work?

Whether you are navigating a divorce, a personal injury claim, a labor and employment law dispute, or a different civil matter, being open and honest with your lawyer can be pivotal to ensuring your interests receive the best possible attention. Solicitor-client privilege exists for this reason: to protect the communication lines between a lawyer and their client. Under this privilege, a lawyer maintains confidentiality about the information their client shares with them.

At Verhaeghe Law, we prioritize compassionate, dedicated service aimed at understanding our clients’ needs, and providing guidance as to how we may be of service. Contact us today to discuss what we may be able to offer you.

What is Solicitor-Client Privilege?

The better a lawyer understands the circumstances of a client’s case, the better they may be able to help. Sometimes a client may need to reveal information to their lawyer that they may not wish to be disclosed in public. This is where solicitor-client privilege comes in. 

Effectively a cone of confidentiality, solicitor-client privilege means that communications between clients and their lawyers are protected. The lawyer may not, with few exceptions, discuss privileged information outside the context of the solicitor-client relationship. Other members of your lawyer’s firm are also beholden to solicitor-client privilege. This protection typically endures indefinitely, even after the case is closed.

Solicitor-client privilege can apply both in person and in remote communications. These may include phone calls, video calls, text messages, emails, and more. If a communication is made between a client and their lawyer, with the intention of seeking or providing legal guidance, and is intended as confidential, solicitor-client privilege likely applies.

When Does Solicitor-Client Privilege Not Apply?

There are some situations where solicitor-client privilege may not apply. If in doubt, discuss this matter with your Edmonton civil litigation lawyer. 

Overall, solicitor-client privilege may not apply if:

  • The information comes forth outside the context of the lawyer’s job (e.g. in a casual conversation at a party).
  • The information is criminal in nature, or is relayed in order to seek legal support towards the committing of a crime.
  • The lawyer has genuine cause to be concerned about a threat to public safety.
  • The client waives the privilege, with clear understanding of the consequences to doing so.
  • And more.

To learn more about solicitor-client privilege, and where it may not apply in your circumstances, contact our Edmonton civil litigation lawyers and schedule an initial consultation. We may be able to provide clearer guidance with a better understanding of your case.

Waiving Solicitor-Client Privilege

Solicitor-client privilege is the right of the client, and so generally only the client is able to voluntarily waive it. This privilege is not automatically waived if the client has been forced to waive it, or has unintentionally disclosed privileged information. 

Many factors come into play for someone to consider waiving solicitor-client privilege. A client may be concerned about the optics of claiming privilege, for example. They may decide to waive privilege instead of risking reputational issues.

Waiving privilege should not be done lightly, as it can impact your access to solicitor-client privilege in other matters. Always discuss your options with an Edmonton civil litigation lawyer before making a decision to waive.

Under very particular circumstances, a lawyer may have the option to disclose specific pieces of privileged information. These circumstances might involve a lawyer defending themselves against allegations of misconduct, or in a situation where there is a reasonable fear that public safety may be under threat.

Contact Our Edmonton Civil Litigation Lawyers Today For a Consultation

Solicitor-client privilege is contextual. The circumstances surrounding your case influence what information can and cannot be disclosed. Nevertheless, the protection of confidentiality typically applies in any working relationship between a lawyer and client. Speak with your Edmonton civil litigation lawyer to clarify the nuances of solicitor-client privilege in your case. Contact us today to discuss how we may be of service to you.

** Please note, this article is intended as a general overview on the subject of solicitor-client privilege in civil law, and is not intended to be legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, please consult with an Alberta civil litigation lawyer.

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