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Countries of the European Union that do not recognize the attorney-client privilege for in-house lawyers

From information compiled by the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe and shown in a map in InsideCounsel, Nov. 2007 at 38, eight EU countries grant the privilege (Ireland, UK, Denmark, Netherlands, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Romania). The other 16 member states do not privilege in-house counsel communications. As I have noted before, the absence of the privilege significantly demotes the effectiveness and power of law departments (See my posts of Nov. 17, 2006 and three references cited, one of which says that 13 EU countries recognize the privilege and 12 do not; and Oct. 24, 2007 with some reasons why countries deny the privilege.).

The article makes a further point: “saying that only external attorneys have protections makes it more expensive to comply [with the law].” Unfortunately, a recent ruling by the European Court of First Instance in Akzo Nobel (Sept. 17, 2007) dashed hopes that the traditionalist stance would be reversed. Further discussion of the Akzo Nobel decision is in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 15, Nov. 2007 at 18.

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