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European Observer on fundamental right's respect

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Case Law C-550/07 (14/09/2010)

Type: Judgment

Authority: European Authorities: Euopean Union' Court of Justice

Date: 09/14/2010

Subject: The Court confirmed the solution of the Court of first Instance, rejecting the claim of legal professional privilege for correspondence with company’s in-house lawyer. Written communications which may be protected by this privilege must be exchanged with ‘an independent lawyer, that is to say one who is not bound to his client by a relationship of employment’. an in-house lawyer cannot, whatever guarantees he has in the exercise of his profession, be treated in the same way as an external lawyer, because he occupies the position of an employee which, by its very nature, does not allow him to ignore the commercial strategies pursued by his employer, and thereby affects his ability to exercise professional independence. The Court held that there was no breach of the principle of equal treatment because in-house lawyers are in a fundamentally different position from external lawyers.

Parties: Akzo Nobel Chemicals Ltd

Classification: Equality - Art. 21 Non discrimination - Justice - Art. 48 Rights of defence

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