Legal professional privilege: Sword or shield?

Legal professional privilege is a venerable principle. With antecedents in 16th century Elizabethan England, the concept — that there can be no compelled disclosure of communications between a client and their lawyer — remains a fundamental tenet of common law legal systems the world over. Nor is the principle unique to the Anglosphere: although the exact nature and tenor of the rule varies widely, almost every jurisdiction globally recognises some form of confidentiality in lawyer-client communication.

Truth, like all other good things, may be loved unwisely — may be pursued too keenly — may cost too much. -Vice-Chancellor Knight Bruce

…Which makes it somewhat surprising that the principle is under attack. Despite its august lineage, influential international institutions including the World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have recently suggested that privilege is facilitating corruption and illicit asset flows. Prosecutors are increasingly asserting that professional secrecy is being

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