What is Client Legal Privilege (CLP) a.k.a Legal Professional Privilege in Australia?

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What is Client Legal Privilege?

Legal Professional Privilege is both a common law and statutory legal right held by in Australia all legal professionals' Clients modernly called Client Legal Privilege (CLP).

Client Legal Privilege (CLP) "... exists to protect the administration of justice by encouraging individuals and other entities/organisations to obtain confidential advice about their legal circumstances without the risk of prejudice and damage by subsequent compulsory disclosure on the demand of any administrative officer with some general statutory authority to obtain information or seize documents."

Client Legal Privilege protects legal advice given by a lawyer to his or her client (advice privilege) and communications pertaining to actual or contemplated litigation or court proceedings (litigation privilege).

Advice Privilege

Section 118 of the Uniform Evidence Acts in Australia provides that evidence is not to be adduced if, on objection by the Client, the court finds that adducing the evidence would result in disclosure of:
(a) a confidential communication made between the Client and a lawyer; or
(b) a confidential communication made between two or more lawyers acting for the Client; or
(c) the contents of a confidential document (whether delivered or not) prepared by the Client or the lawyer;
for the dominant purpose of the lawyer, or one or more of the lawyers, providing legal advice to the Client.

Litigation Privilege

Section 119 of the Uniform Evidence Acts in Australia establishes a Litigation Privilege, protecting confidential communications between:
⚖️ A Client and another person, or
⚖️ A lawyer acting for a Client and another person; or
⚖️ The contents of a confidential document that was prepared ...
For the dominant purpose of a Client being provided with legal services related to an Australian or overseas legal proceeding or anticipated legal proceeding in which the Client is or may be a party.

The ALRC considered that confidential communications between a lawyer or Client and third parties are a part of adversarial litigation and therefore should also be protected by Client legal privilege.[44]

The Privilege belongs to the Client

It is called Client Legal Privilege because the privilege belongs to the Client, not the lawyer.

A lawyer may only disclose privileged communications if clearly instructed to do so by their Client.

If you have any questions, please contact our legal team for assistance.


Law Council of Australia

Uniform Evidence Law ALRC Report 102/14


This FAQ was created by James D. Ford GAICD | Principal Solicitor, Blue Ocean Law Group℠.

Important Notice:

This FAQ is intended for general interest + information only.

It is not legal advice, nor should it be relied upon or used as such.

We recommend you always consult a lawyer for legal advice specifically tailored to your needs & circumstances.