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Solicitor-Client Privilege and Administrative Agencies


Lawyer Peter Ruby
Area Privacy and Data Protection


Article originally published in the Canadian Journal of Administrative Law & Practice, Volume 22, Number 1, February 2009

Excerpt from "Solicitor-Client Privilege and Administrative Agencies", by Peter Ruby and Lauren MacLeod:

This article discusses solicitor-client privilege in the administrative law context, in light of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Canada (Privacy Commissioner) v. Blood Tribe Department of Health.  The Court ruled that solicitor-client privilege must be interfered with by regulatory bodies as minimally as possible and that they may review solicitor-client privilege documents only in situations where they have the explicit statutory authority to do so.  The Court reaffirmed solicitor-client privilege as a substantive right, but in doing so, the Court may have reduced some of the benefits of administrative agencies. Given the Court’s strong language in favour of this privilege, the article queries the growing practice of administrative agencies seeking that the parties before them waive solicitor-client privilege.

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