Privilege

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In the previous column, “Without prejudice”, we considered the purpose and effect of the “without prejudice” rule. This is sometimes referred to as “without prejudice privilege”. In this column, we will look at the type of privilege that is referred to as “legal professional privilege” and explore these questions:

  • How does legal professional privilege operate in common law jurisdictions?
  • Is legal professional privilege recognised in China?

Let’s start by considering the terminology used in English and Chinese. In English, a privilege is a right or immunity that often arises as a result of a special position, or special circumstances. It derives from the Latin word privilegium, which refers to a special law or a private law.

The Chinese word tequan means “special right” and matches the definition of the English word.

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葛安德 Andrew Godwin
葛安德
Andrew Godwin

A former partner of Linklaters Shanghai, Andrew Godwin teaches law at Melbourne Law School in Australia, where he is an associate director of its Asian Law Centre.  Andrew’s new book is a compilation of China Business Law Journal’s popular Lexicon series, entitled China Lexicon: Defining and translating legal terms. The book is published by Vantage Asia and available at www.vantageasia.com.