Glossary of competition terms

This Glossary is based on definitions from DG COMP’s Glossary of terms used in EU competition policy (© European Union, 2002) and the OECD’s Glossary of industrial organisation economics and competition law (© OECD, 1993). Each term is enriched with references of national case laws from the e-Competitions Bulletin and Concurrences Review.

Legal privilege

In Akzo case law, the Court of Justice of the European Union defined the protection of confidentiality of communications between lawyers and their clients (also known as legal professional privilege) as follow:

"That confidentiality serves the requirement, the importance of which is recognised in all of the Member States, that every person must be able, without constraint, to consult a lawyer whose profession entails the giving of independent legal advice to all those in need of it.

"(...) l’objet consiste tant à sauvegarder le plein exercice des droits de la défense des justiciables qu’à protéger l’exigence que tout justiciable doit avoir la possibilité de s’adresser en toute liberté à son avocat.

(...)

First, that protection seeks to safeguard the public interest in the proper administration of justice in ensuring that a client is free to consult his lawyer without fear that any confidences which he imparts may subsequently be disclosed. Secondly, its purpose is to avoid the harm which may be caused to the undertakings rights of the defence as a result of the Commission reading the contents of a confidential document and improperly adding it to the investigation file."

© Court of Justice of the European Union

Glossary