Client Advisory: Brussels Court of Appeal Ruling Marks Shift for In-House Privilege in Europe

November 5th, 2013

Belgian Bellwether for European In-House Privilege

A recent ruling from the Brussels’ Court of Appeal protecting privilege for communications with in-house counsel may mark a shift in European Union precedent.

On March 5, 2013, the Brussels’ Court of Appeal released its judgment for a case involving the Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) and telecommunications company, Belgacom. The case revolved around Belgacom’s assertion of privilege for communications with in-house counsel. The Court of Appeal ruled that all communications and advice provided by in-house counsel to employers is protected by the same privilege afforded to attorney-client communications. The Court of Appeal’s interpretation conflicts with the European Commission’s (EC) position and brings potentially significant implications for the future of in-house counsel privilege.

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