Whistleblower protection is a hot topic in France, as a new act aimed at improving the protection of whistleblowers was adopted by French Senate on February 16, 2022. The new act should come into force in France by mid-2022.
Essentially, the new text is aimed, by modifying the provisions of the “Sapin 2” law dated December 9, 2016 “on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernization of economic life” to broaden the scope of beneficiaries of the protective status, to simplify the terms of alerts and improve the protection granted to whistleblowers, in particular employees. In doing so, it transposes into French law the provisions of European Union Directive 2019/1937 of 23 October 2019 on the protection of persons who report violations of Union law, but gets also a bit further than the Directive on several points.
The principle of solicitor-client privilege guarantees to every citizen that there is no interference from public authorities in their defence, whatever they may have done.
This principle is established in article 66-5 of the Law n°71-1130 of 31 December 1971 and applies in all matters, whether it is in the field of counsel or defence. This principle protects the consultations addressed by a lawyer to their client, the correspondences between the lawyer and the client or between two lawyers, interview notes and all the documents in the file. Articles 6 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights also protect the solicitor-client privilege.
It is a fundamental principle since it guarantees the right of the person to speak openly to their lawyer and obtain a legal advice without worrying that it would one day be used against them.