Privileged Information

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privileged information

These privileges are held by the client but not the lawyer , the patient but not the doctor or psychotherapist , the speaking but not the spoken-to spouse and both the clergyperson and the penitent. The lawyer, doctor, psychotherapist and spoken-to spouse, however, cannot reveal the communication without the other person's consent.

The client, patient, speaking spouse, clergyperson and penitent may waive the privilege that is, testify about the conversation and also may prevent the other person from disclosing the information. Example: Sue and Martin are divorcing. When Martin first left Sue, he emptied out a joint bank account and placed that money in a separate account in another state.

He refuses to tell Sue where the money is, but he has told his lawyer, Ann.

The discussion between Martin and Ann is privileged, and unless Martin authorizes Ann to tell Sue where the money is, or unless Martin himself tells another person about his conversation with Ann, Ann cannot be forced to disclose the information. Marital communications privilege. Courts cannot force husbands and wives to disclose the contents of confidential communications made during marriage.

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The purpose of the privilege is to protect and promote honesty and confidence within marriages. Spousal privilege. Courts cannot force husbands and wives to testify against each other.

On the Theory of Learnining with Privileged Information

For example, when a former husband trying to gain custody of his child called his ex-wife's new husband as a witness to testify about her treatment of the child, the court refused to force him to testify on the grounds that it could jeopardize an existing marriage. Example: Sandy has a budding marijuana brownie business which she operates out of her home.

Sandy has told her husband, Doug, about her endeavors. All private conversations between them are privileged; that is, if Sandy is ever prosecuted for her business, she can prevent Doug from disclosing what he knows. Legal Definition of Privileged Communication A privileged communication is a conversation that takes places within the context of a protected relationship, such as that between an attorney and client.

What Qualifies as Privileged Communication? It is important for social workers to understand the distinction between confidentiality and privileged communication.

Treatment of legally privileged information in competition proceedings - OECD

Confidentiality refers to the professional norm that information offered by or pertaining to clients will not be shared with third parties. Privilege refers to the disclosure of confidential information in court or during other legal proceedings. Courts commonly cite the following four conditions that must be satisfied for information to be considered privileged:.

A significant court decision for social workers concerning privileged communications was the landmark case of Jaffe v.

NCIS S14x03: Privileged Information (Sneak Peek 2)

Redmond in which the U. Supreme Court ruled that the clients of clinical social workers have the right to privileged communication in federal courts. In this case, a police officer sought counseling from a social worker after the officer killed a man involved in a fight. The social worker objected to a court order to disclose clinical notes she made during counseling sessions with the officer, arguing that the psychotherapist-client privilege protected the contents of the conversation. In its decision, the Supreme Court concluded that participants in therapy must be able to predict with some degree of certainty whether particular discussions will be protected.

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Disclosure of privileged information may also be permissible when a client threatens to commit suicide, shares information in the presence of a third party, is a minor and the subject of a custody dispute, is involved in criminal activity, has been abused or neglected, is impaired and may pose a threat to the public e. If the social workers practice in a state granting the right of privileged communication to their clients, avoiding compliance with a subpoena may be easier because the legislature has acknowledged the importance of the privilege.


A subpoena itself does not require a social worker to disclose information. Instead, a subpoena is essentially a request for information, and it may be without merit. Resisting disclosure of privileged information is appropriate.

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