Reminders of the rules governing the confidentiality of meetings held in the presence of the parties and their lawyers

Under the terms of Article 3 of the National Rules of Procedure for the Legal Profession (“RIN”), professional secrecy covers correspondence exchanged between the lawyer and his client, the consultations he sends to him, the notes of their meetings as well as the parts entrusted to him.

Article 3 of the RIN provides for its part that exchanges between lawyers, whether verbal or written, are by nature confidential (unless they are correspondence equivalent to pleadings or correspondence not reference to any writing or statement covered by confidentiality).

It is because this double level of confidentiality exists that the parties wishing to conduct discussions, whether in a contentious context or not, systematically call on lawyers, to whom they entrust the task of dialogue (orally or in writing). and to exchange the documents or information necessary for the progress of the negotiations.

The limits of confidentiality during meetings between parties and lawyers

Sometimes, these exchanges between lawyers are insufficient and the parties wish to be able to discuss directly with each other, or even meet.

The question then arises of the presence of lawyers, which everyone agrees to think will guarantee the confidentiality of the exchanges that will take place during these four-way exchanges (the parties and their lawyers).

Is that the case though? In other words, is the presence of the parties' respective lawyers sufficient to guarantee the confidentiality of the documents and information exchanged during such meetings?

The exchanges which will take place during the meeting between the lawyers (that is to say in practice the information or documents emanating from the lawyers), are covered by confidentiality and cannot therefore be disclosed or used in court.

On the other hand, it is otherwise with regard to the information and documents disclosed by the parties themselves. Indeed, people who are not lawyers are not bound by any obligation of confidentiality, so that their exchanges are not covered by said confidentiality.

How to guarantee the confidentiality of exchanges during meetings between parties and lawyers?

The mere fact that lawyers are present alongside their respective clients during a meeting is not sufficient to guarantee the confidentiality of the exchanges that will take place there.

However, it is possible to remedy this by having the parties ratify a prior confidentiality agreement.

It is therefore recommended that lawyers properly advise their clients on the usefulness of such an agreement before holding any meeting between the parties and their respective lawyers.

Jefferson Larue

Jefferson Larue

Jefferson Larue


associate lawyer

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