Criminal Law

The Duty of Confidentiality- Secrecy & Disclosure in Criminal Law

By July 7, 2020 No Comments
Duty of Confidentiality- Secrecy & Disclosure
One of the fundamental principals in criminal law is the attorney-client confidentiality, which not only builds trust but is the basis onto which the whole practice is enshrined on. As a law tutor, it is vital that your highlight to your law students the essence of building trust with their future clients, of which confidentiality is an integral part.

What does the duty of confidentiality entail?

Confidentiality in criminal law covers the communication between the lawyer and the client, applicable both in oral and written aspects. The attorney is tied to an unwritten secrecy oath to the information provided by the client and will only share such information when and if authorized by their clients.

However, there exist certain scenarios where the duty of confidentiality might be waived, especially when the communication between the lawyer and the client are held in an environment where other parties are likely to overhear the conversation.

The role of third parties

A lawyer might invite a third party to be a witness when the client is sharing some vital information. During court proceedings, the third parties might be called upon to stand as witnesses and are at liberty in sharing the information shared in confidentiality.

It is also important to note that should the defendant share the information previously shared with the lawyer in confidentiality, then the duty of confidentiality is waived.

The exceptions to this rule include when such information is shared with a priest, any religious leader, or spouse.

An important point to note is that the lawyer and the client should ensure that their communication channels are entirely private, without the interference of unwelcome third parties.

As a law tutor London, ensure that you instil the principles of criminal law practice to your students, which should cover the duty of confidentiality, the core of lawyer-client interactions.