This debate is sponsored by my good friends at Personal Injury Birmingham
“This House believes the duty of confidentiality of lawyers/professional legal privilege/the professional secret is a cornerstone of human rights.”
Onto my first point, if we examine the word “cornerstone” it means, ‘something of great importance that everything else depends on’. It could be described as a fundamental rule.
There is not text in the European Convention of Human Rights regarding legal profession privilege. It is an important value to be balanced under Article 8 + 6 but its not a cornerstone of Human Rights.
Before we look at the limitations found in the European Court of Human Rights, lets look at how Article 8 is a limited right which is not a great starting point for cornerstone argument.
Article 8 (2) limitations such as: Necessary democratic society and…prevention of disorder or a crime…protection of health or morals
In the Campbell v UK (reported in 1993 in the European Human Rights Report p.137)
On the facts it was held there was a breach of Article 8, but as point of law it was explained that in exceptional circumstances that mail could be read. The court stated that: