December 7, 2006

December 7, 2006 | News Releases on Legal Issues

Meese Praises Approach of Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act

WASHINGTON, DEC. 7, 2006-Edwin Meese III, Chairman of the Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, today issued the following statement concerning the introduction the "Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2006:"

"Senator Arlen Specter is to be commended for his efforts to ensure that the constitutional protections for the right to counsel are preserved in the investigation or prosecution of business organizations."

"Although most of the U.S. Department of Justice's guidelines on business prosecutions are sound, certain policies and resulting practices undermine a business firm's right to confidential legal counsel, and therefore cannot be justified." 

"Protecting the confidentiality of the attorney-client privilege fosters legal advice that increases voluntary compliance with the law. Further, if an investigation or litigation is begun, justice is best served when all parties (including employees of a corporation) are represented by diligent and experienced counsel."

"There is a growing consensus that the Justice Department's guidelines and practices in this area need revision. The Department is currently reviewing its procedures in this field; it should engage in effective reform rather than merely adding a layer of internal review. The Department should not ask businesses to waive their attorney-client privilege in any circumstance in which the privilege is legally recognized or penalize those that choose to preserve their privilege.  Nor should the Department interfere with a company's policies or practice in regard to paying attorney fees for its employees."

"The principles embodied in the Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act of 2006 strike the right balance between the needs of law enforcement and the fundamental civil rights embodied in the attorney-client privilege and related protections for individual employees."

"The Justice Department should act promptly to adopt the substantive provisions of the legislation through administrative means and eliminate the need for Congress to enact legislation on this subject."

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