New law on the right of defence: reinforced professional secrecy.

This draft bill expressly stipulates that communications between a member and a client cannot be used as evidence.

The draft bill, which is now open to public consultation, reinforces professional secrecy and the role of the legal profession's collegiate institutions. This is the opinion of the General Council of Lawyers after its reading, which was approved by the Council of Ministers on 30 August and published on 2 September.

Although some of the demands of the legal profession are left out, such as intrusion, it is considered to be a great step towards the consolidation of rights that are included in the constitution and are still awaiting development in an organic law approved by the council of ministers.

The legal profession appreciates the draft bill as it expressly provides that communications between professionals and clients must be completely private and may not be admitted as evidence except with the legal authorisation provided for by law. Therefore, the files are protected in the event of an investigation in a professional office, protected by the confidentiality between the lawyer and his client.

Likewise, the deontological and disciplinary functions of the Bar Associations and Bar Councils are reinforced with the exclusive function of initiating ex officio proceedings against those who may have infringed the regulations established in the General Statute of the Bar and in the Code of Ethics of the Spanish Bar. The autonomous and general councils also have the capacity to file disciplinary proceedings when the cases go beyond the scope of the bar associations or autonomous communities.

A good basis on which to work is the possible adoption of the bill, according to lawyers, and especially during the parliamentary procedure in order to further improve the draft bill.

This represents a step forward in the protection of citizens, consolidating all the guarantees linked to legal defence in a single text. The regulation will increase the constitutional guarantees of effective judicial protection and represents a fundamental advance in the rule of law.

Source: Legal news

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