Federation Arguments on the Sanctity of Solicitor-Client Privilege Upheld in Supreme Court Decision

(Posted on July 18, 2008)

In a unanimous decision released on July 17th, 2008 the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the claim by the Privacy Commissioner that it has the right to review documents over which solicitor-client privilege is claimed to determine whether the claim is justified. In dismissing the appeal in Privacy Commissioner of Canada v. Blood Tribe Department of Health the Court accepted the principal arguments made by the Federation about the need to protect solicitor-client privilege from encroachment.

Stating that the determination of the validity of a claim of privilege is a role reserved to the courts, the Supreme Court reiterated its view that solicitor-client privilege must be as close to absolute as possible and may be abrogated by Parliament in legislation only where done so explicitly.

The Supreme Court of Canada decision is available here.  (2008 SCC 44, [2008] 2 SCR 574 CanLII)

The Federation’s factum is available here.