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Concept Of Legal Privilege In Slovak Republic


The laws of the Slovak Republic do not specifically stipulate legal professional privilege. In general, the right to legal protection is a right to legal protection, (Act No. 460/1992 Coll.), provided for in Article 47 of the Slovak Constitution. Official Act No. 586/2003 Coll. Lawyers, as amended, provide that the counsel shall not disclose any details relating to the representation of the client and shall regard such information as strictly confidential. It should be remembered that a breach of this duty is not a criminal offence and is deemed to be a professional misconduct that can result in administrative penalties. The lawyer’s duty of confidentiality shall extend to all matters relating to the exercise of his work, unless otherwise provided for in the applicable legal regulations. In the case of criminal investigations, however, legal professional privilege does exist.


Legal professional privilege in the sense of civil litigation

Act No. 160/2015 Coll., in the course of civil proceedings. The Code of Civil Dispute Procedure, as amended, guarantees that a witness has an obligation to maintain confidentiality during the procedure for the examination of a witness in civil proceedings, provided that the obligation arises from legislation or is recognized by the Slovak Republic.


Legal professional privilege in the sense of judicial inquiries

Under Act No. 300/2005, Coll. It is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code, as amended, if anyone violates the secrets found in a closed letter or other documents transmitted via mail, electronic communications or computers. It is also a criminal offence to violate the confidentiality of any text, audio recording, image recording or other recording, or computer data, anything held confidential, in such a manner that it is revealed or obtained by a third party or otherwise used in such a way that the rights of a person are seriously violated.

In addition, any communication is protected between a client and their defence counsel (i.e. the lawyer in criminal proceedings). Any information derived from such correspondence shall not be used for the purpose of criminal proceedings and shall, without undue delay, be destroyed in the specified manner.


Legal professional privilege in the sense of antitrust / competition authority inquiries

With respect to the implementation by the Slovak Competition Authority of inspections, according to Law No. 136/2001 Coll. Protection of competition, as amended, The Authority is entitled to request any information and documents relating to an undertaking, as well as other information and documents required for the operations of the Authority, from natural and lawful persons. These individuals shall be obliged to provide the Office without delay with all information and records, unless this is contrary to special legislation (eg banking, tax legislation).


Legal professional privilege scope

Slovak law provides for an express duty of confidentiality only with regard to the relationship between the lawyer and the client. This includes the right of the client to protect the information given to the lawyer by the client in the process of legal representation, and the duty of the lawyer to uphold the confidentiality of the information received. This responsibility of the lawyer does not extend in situations where the legal rules require the lawyer to escape a criminal offence.

In legal cases, an attorney cannot be required to submit papers. The advocate may only produce such materials in cases where their client or the successor of a client is released from the duty of confidentiality.

Act No. 160/2015 Coll., in the course of civil proceedings. The Code of Civil Dispute Procedure, as amended, guarantees the obligation of the witness to maintain confidentiality in civil proceedings during his or her examination (if such obligation follows from laws or is recognized by Slovak Republic). All classified knowledge, trade secrets or bank, tax, insurance or telecommunications secrets shall be covered in the course of criminal proceedings. Data subject to such confidentiality can be given only at the request of the prosecutor or the judge before the criminal proceeding or in the preparatory proceeding. Communication between advocates and clients shall also, in this respect, be protected from seizure.

There is no specification of the documents benefiting from these duties. In general, all such records containing such sensitive details shall be secret, while all that the lawyer has heard from due to their presence as a lawyer shall be confidential under the advocacy legislature. Moreover, with this duty, there is no clear time constraint. The records are covered for as long as there is a possibility that any harm could be caused to the client by violating the duty.


Does legal professional privilege protect interactions with in-house counsel?

Since an employee is considered to be an in-house lawyer, their responsibility to protect confidentiality derives from the employee’s general duty to maintain the confidentiality of any information they have received during the performance of their jobs. For in-house lawyers, the obligations placed directly on advocates do not apply.

Therefore, unlike a lawyer, an in-house lawyer is obliged to keep confidential all information they have received during the performance of their work, whilst the lawyer is obliged to keep confidential any information they have obtained in relation to the performance of their position as a lawyer.

As regards in-house counsel, foreign in-house counsel shall be bound by the duty to preserve confidentiality, provided that they are working in the Slovak Republic and are subject to the Slovak Labor Law Regulations.


Is the correspondence of non-nationally trained lawyers entitled to legal professional privilege?

The confidentiality duty provided for in Act No. 586/2003 Coll. A so-called licensed European lawyer (a European lawyer is a national of any EU Member State or a national of any other EEA signatory) shall also be protected by Advocates, as amended.

Who is allowed to undertake their professional activities and to provide, as a sole practitioner, legal services under their professional title at home). In the Slovak Republic, a licensed European lawyer may provide legal services under the terms and conditions laid down in this Act and is obliged to fulfill the duties and obligations of lawyers under this Act, in compliance with separate legal rules and the internal rules of the Slovak Bar (their duty to comply with the laws and legal rules applicable in their home Member State shall not be affected).