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Privilege

BC Human Rights Tribunal reviews social media request for legal advice to determine if communication privileged

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia

In Hov v. School District No. 43 and another, 2017 BCHRT 162, the complainant sought disclosure of a conversation conducted via Facebook Messenger by an individually named respondent, in which the respondent sought, and seemingly obtained, legal advice from an Ontario lawyer.

The respondents claimed solicitor-client privilege over the communications but the Tribunal ordered the conversations to be disclosed directly to the Tribunal so they could assess if the documents should be protected by privilege. The Tribunal's rationale was that there was an insufficient description of the communications and they were unable to determine if they should be protected. 

Interestingly, the lawyer affirmed by affidavit that he was was providing legal advice within the communications. Query whether providing details of the communications between a lawyer and their client would undermine the underlying claim to privilege. 

Federal Privacy Commissioner launches handbook to help lawyers apply PIPEDA to their practices

Jurisdiction: - Canada/Federal

The Federal Privacy Commissioner has launched on online handbook - PIPEDA and Your Practice - A Privacy Handbook for Lawyers - to help lawyers apply the federal private sector privacy legislation to their practices.

"Written by lawyers for lawyers, PIPEDA and Your Practice - A Privacy Handbook for Lawyers describes best practices in managing the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, responding to requests for access to personal information, and the potential application of PIPEDA. The Handbook covers practical privacy issues that arise in the course of managing a law firm and conducting litigation," stated the Commissioner's office in its August 16, 2011 news release announcing the handbook.

Litigators will likely find the "Privacy Issues in Civil Litigation" section to be of significant value.

"Employee's E-mail to Attorney Not Privileged Where Sent by Employer's Computer, California Court Rules"

Jurisdiction: - United States

Jackson Lewis, a labour and employment firm with offices in almost every US state, has published a case summary entitled, "Employee's E-mail to Attorney Not Privileged Where Sent by Employer's Computer, California Court Rules"

Ths summary covers the California Court of Appeal's decision in Holmes v. Petrovich Development Co., LLC, No. C059133 (Cal. Ct. App. Jan. 13, 2011).