In-house “undermined” by ECJ privilege decision

Author: Danielle Myles | Published: 14 Sep 2010

In-house “undermined” by ECJ privilege decision

The decision by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to deny in-house lawyers the benefit of privilege has been labeled “counter-productive” and “undermining”.

The ruling in Akzo Nobel Chemicals and Akcros Chemicals v European Commission allows internal advice to be seized in EU competition investigations on the grounds that in-house counsel are not sufficiently independent from their employers.

According to lawyers, this is out of touch with how these relationships operate and discredits the role of in-house counsel.

“In practice these days competition law is very largely enforced by lawyers in in-house departments, who are in the...