The stakes can be high in legal cases, especially those of a criminal nature. For this reason, it falls on highly trained individuals to present arguments and evidence to the court. There is a lot that goes on behind the scenes during litigation, investigations are carried out, interviews and documentation may be passed from one party to another.
Attorneys owe their clients a duty of care, and part of this involves confidentiality or attorney-client privilege. What are some of the more common examples of confidentiality breaches and can you do anything about them?
The transfer of documents
Documents may be transferred throughout the duration of a case from the client to the attorney. In some instances, approved third parties such as investigators could be involved in this as well. It is vital that records relating to the client remain confidential. An attorney cannot transfer these documents to someone without their client’s approval. They also cannot afford to make a careless error, such as sending documents to the wrong address by mistake.
Typically, any discussions between a client and attorney are privileged. In other words, an attorney cannot discuss the details of the case with their friends, family or any other unauthorized parties. If there are exemptions to this, then they should be explained to you in detail.
Why is confidentiality so important?
Confidentiality is pivotal to the wider role of justice. If sensitive information ends up in the wrong hands, then it could jeopardize the case, and more importantly, the freedom of the client.
In some instances, a breach in confidentiality could amount to malpractice, which is actionable. Seeking some legal guidance will give you a clearer indication of your options.