An important component of doing business is the ability to obtain open and candid advice from your lawyer without the threat that the advice received will have to be disclosed. Equally important for individuals and businesses is the ability to prepare for or defend a lawsuit without having to publicise your case to the other side.

Privilege is a legal right which allows persons to resist compulsory disclosure of documents and information. The fact that a document is sensitive or confidential is not a bar to disclosure, although privileged documents must be confidential.

There are two main types of privilege protection under English and US law. Broadly, these protect communications between lawyer and client (attorney-client privilege under US law and legal advice privilege under English law) and documents prepared for litigation (the work product doctrine under US law and litigation privilege under English law).

There are strict rules for when each of these types of privilege apply.

Our guides