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Communication that occurs in a setting of legal or other recognized professional confidentiality. Designating a communication as privileged allows the speakers to resist legal process to disclose its contents. When communications are termed privileged, a breach by one party of the concurrent confidentiality can result in a civil suit in tort by the other party to the communication. Communications that are privileged may include:
(1) communications in the sanctity of the marital relationship;
(2) communications between physicians and their patients;
(3) communications of psychological counselors and their clients;
(4) priest-and-penitent communications;
(5) communications between attorney and client; and
(6) in some jurisdictions, communications between journalists and their sources.
See attorney-client privilege, journalist’s privilege; marital communications privileges; physician-patient privilege (including PSYCHOTHERAPIST-PATIENT PRIVILEGE); priest-penitent privilege; rape crisis counselor privilege. See also informer’s privilege; self-incrimination; privilege against.
ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE an evidentiary privilege protecting the confidential communications between a client and his or her attorney from disclosure to any other party; can be waived by the client but not by the attorney
EXAMPLE: Joaquin discusses with his attorney a past wrong he is alleged to have committed. If the attorney is asked to discuss this without Joaquin’s permission, she will not be permitted to do so since the communication was privileged. Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; © 2016