The Brussels Court of Appeal recognises legal professional privilege to in-house lawyers (Belgacom)

On 5 March 2013, the Brussels Court of Appeal delivered a landmark judgment finding that in-house lawyers’ communications benefit from the so-called “legal professional privilege”, i.e. they are protected by the confidentiality of communications between lawyers and their clients. The Court’s judgment settles a dispute that arose following the inspections carried out by the Belgian Competition Authority at the premises of Belgian telecommunications company Belgacom in 2010. During these inspections, large quantities of documents were seized, including internal emails containing advice given by Belgacom’s in-house lawyers. The Belgian Competition Authority considered that these emails were not protected by legal professional privilege and could thus be used as evidence in the proceedings.

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Authors

  • Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
  • Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)

Quotation

Valérie Lefever, Johan Van Acker, The Brussels Court of Appeal recognises legal professional privilege to in-house lawyers (Belgacom), 5 March 2013, e-Competitions Bulletin March 2013, Art. N° 51812

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