Statement of Stephen N. Zack, President, American Bar Association Re: Azko Chemicals Ltd. and Akcros Chemicals Ltd. v. Commission of the European Communities
The recent European Court of Justice decision is very troubling to the American Bar Association and its members in the U.S. and abroad. The decision reaches far beyond the borders of the European Union to fundamentally damage attorney-client privilege protections for all companies doing business in the EU.
The dated and somewhat demeaning view of the role of in-house counsel is especially disturbing because of its potential impact in today’s modern, multinational business world. For the sake of clarity, compliance and modernity, the court should have used this opportunity to recognize the role of the legal professional privilege in the current global environment.
Attorney-client privilege is an essential element of a successful and meaningful client-lawyer relationship. The association will continue to work on this issue in concert with the many other entities and legal experts who share our concerns.
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.
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