Attorney client privilege is any information relating to a legal advice. Attorney’s code of professional ethics qualifies the following as attorney client privilege:
- the very fact of addressing an attorney, including names of Clients;
- all evidence and documents collected by an attorney in the course of preparation to the hearing of the case;
- information received by an attorney from a Client;
- information concerning a Client learnt by an attorney in the course of legal assistance;
- content of the legal advice given to a Client directly or destined to a Client;
- attorney’s proceedings on the case;
- conditions of legal assistance agreement, including payment settlements between an attorney and a Client;
- any other information relating to a legal advice.
Status of independence of an attorney guaranteed by legislation allows to ensure Client’s interests to the necessary degree.
An attorney has no right to divulgate information received from a Client in connection with legal assistance rendering without a Client’s consent (Federal Law “On Legal Practice and Advocacy in the Russian Federation”);
- tacit cooperation of an attorney with investigative bodies is prohibited (Federal Law “On Legal Practice and Advocacy in the Russian Federation”);
- it is prohibited to summon an attorney for questioning as a witness about circumstances become known to an attorney in connection with addressing him for legal assistance or its rendering by him (Federal Law “On Legal Practice and Advocacy in the Russian Federation”);
- carrying out special investigation activities in relation to an attorney (including living and office accommodation used for advocacy activities execution) is allowed only on the ground of a judicial decision.
Information, property and documents collected in the course of special investigation activities (also in case of suspension or termination of attorney’s status) are allowed to be used as prosecution evidence just in case if they are not included in proceedings on the cases of the Clients of an attorney (Federal Law “On Legal Practice and Advocacy in the Russian Federation”).
- an attorney of a suspect or a defendant is not subject to questioning as a witness about circumstances become known to him in connection with addressing him for legal assistance or its rendering by him;
- suspects and defendants are allowed to communicate with an attorney from the moment of their factual apprehension. An attorney may visit a suspect or a defendant under conditions allowing detention facility officer to see them but not to hear (Federal Law “Concerning the Detention of Persons Suspected and Accused of Committing Crimes”).
Independence of an attorney is guaranteed by article 18 of the Federal Law “On Legal Practice and Advocacy in the Russian Federation”:
- Interference in advocacy practice carried out in compliance with current legislation or obstruction of it in any way is prohibited;
- An attorney can’t be brought to any kind of responsibility (also in case of suspension or termination of attorney’s status) for his opinion expressed in connection with advocacy activity execution only if guilt on the criminal act (or omission) of an attorney is determined by court sentence come into legal force;
- Demanding information connected with legal assistance on certain cases from attorneys, law chambers and the Federal Chamber of lawyers is not allowed;
- Attorneys, members of their family and their property are protected by government. Internal affairs bodies are obliged to take all the necessary measures to provide safety of an attorney, members of his family, security of their property;
- Criminal prosecution of an attorney is carried out in compliance with attorney’s guarantees provided by criminal procedure legislation.
In judicial decision № 128−0 from