Dutch Gov’t’s surveillance of law firms is illegal (court of appeal affirms)

imgresOn October 27, 2015, the Court of Appeal of The Hague (Gerechtshof Den Haag) affirmed the District Court’s decision that found the Dutch government’s surveillance of Dutch law firms illegal. See here.

The Court of Appeal dismissed all grounds of appeal raised by the Dutch Government and held that the communication between a lawyer and his or her client is protected under Article 8 ECHR. The professional privilege is of great importance not only for the lawyer’s client but also for the proper administration of justice in a democratic society. Because abuse is easy and can have such harmful consequences for a democratic society, the supervisory control over lawyers is entrusted to the judiciary, as an independent body with the power to limit potential infringements of professional privilege.

The Court also highlighted that the judgment applies to all lawyers registered in a EU Member State within the meaning of Directive 77/249/EEC, and not only to lawyers registered in the Netherlands.

Parties have three months to file an appeal to the Dutch Supreme Court.

The decision in the Prakken d’Oliveira case is available at http://uitspraken.rechtspraak.nl…

CCBE press release “Dutch court upholds lower court ruling banning surveillance of lawyers’ communications after successful CCBE intervention” is available at http://www.ccbe.eu…

For more information, Francesca Giannoni-Crystal

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