The Brussels Court of Appeal holds that communications between a company and its in-house counsel are entitled to the protection of the attorney-client privilege under Belgian law (Belgacom)

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The Brussels Court of Appeal held that communications between a company (Belgacom Group) and its in-house counsel were entitled to the protection of the attorney-client privilege under Belgian law, and therefore were not subject to production to the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”), which had obtained them in a dawn raid. [1] Why It Matters The Belgian Court declined to follow the Akzo ruling of the European Court of Justice, which generally precludes in-house counsel from asserting privilege in the context of European proceedings. The decision represents an important rebuke to Akzo’s presumption that in-house counsels are insufficiently independent to enjoy the attorney-client and related privileges. While it is too soon to predict the demise of Akzo, Belgacom has immediate

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Authors

  • CaaStle (New York)
  • Axinn Veltrop & Harkrider (New York)

Quotation

Timothy Hirsch, Donald W. Hawthorne, The Brussels Court of Appeal holds that communications between a company and its in-house counsel are entitled to the protection of the attorney-client privilege under Belgian law (Belgacom), 5 March 2013, e-Competitions March 2013, Art. N° 65468

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