1

Consider this hypothetical situation:

Say you commit a hit and run and a friend takes the blame for you so you don't lose your career. Then asks you to help tell his lawyer what happened. Can they turn the tables on you and disclose your crime?

4

First of all, there are 3 crimes here:

  1. the hit and run committed by you
  2. the accessory after the fact crime committed by your friend
  3. the "attempt to pervert the course of justice" (different jurisdictions call it different things) committed by you and your friend.

Second, the lawyer is your friend's lawyer - they have no client privilege towards you.

Third, your lawyer cannot help you break the law - any attempt to get them to do so by say, attempting to pervert the course if justice, is not privileged.

  • 1
    In addition to this, attorney-client privilege doesn't necessarily apply when the intent is to use it to facilitate a crime in itself. The attempt to pervert the course of justice here is a perfect example of that. – Moo Mar 21 at 3:27
1

It depends. Attorney-client privilege is for when an attorney-client relationship has been formed.

If you were to talk to the friends lawyer for the purpose of retaining them as counsel then that would be privileged and he could not disclose if, but would create ethical obligations. Likely the attorney would turn you away for conflict of interest reasons and then though not required drop your friend as your lawyer cannot suborn purgery and your friend is being unethical. Additionally lawyers are required to report it if they believe their client is about to commit a crime.

If however you were to talk to the lawyer for the sake of helping your friends case, then yes you are confessing to an officer of the court and the lawyer can be compelled to testify if the prosecution finds out about said confession.

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