The findings of the Report Gauvain confirm ACC advocacy position
BRUSSELS AND WASHINGTON (2 July 2019) – The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global legal association representing more than 45,000 in-house counsel employed by over 10,000 organizations in 85 countries, has announced its support of the recommendations regarding in-house legal professional privilege made in the special report of Raphaël Gauvain, MP, to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe of France.
The Report Gauvain recommends the creation of a new status for French in-house counsel that will put them on the same ethical footing as their outside counsel colleagues, including the protection of legal professional privilege. The report argues that French companies are at a deep disadvantage in foreign courts because in-house counsel in the country are not granted legal professional privilege. France is one of the few major economic powers that does not protect the confidentiality of legal advice internal to the company. In extraterritorial legal actions, French companies are therefore forced to reveal their communications with their internal lawyers, while companies from other countries enjoy the right to privilege, the report notes.
The report calls on France to establish effective legal tools, including a guarantee of professional privilege for French in-house counsel, to level the playing field in extraterritorial legal actions. The report also recommends a number of other measures aimed at insulating French companies from extraterritorial legal actions.
“ACC has always believed that in-house counsel should have the same status as outside counsel when it comes to privilege,” said Mary Blatch, senior director of advocacy at ACC. “The lack of privilege for French in-house counsel is a problem for French and multinational companies alike. We urge Prime Minister Philippe to take the privilege recommendations seriously, and we encourage his government to push for an EU-wide standard of in-house privilege.”
About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global legal association that promotes the common professional and business interests of in-house counsel who work for corporations, associations and other organisations through information, education, networking, and advocacy. With more than 45,000 members in 85 countries employed by over 10,000 organisations, ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for both personal and professional growth. By in-house counsel, for in-house counsel.® For more information, visit www.acc.com and follow ACC on Twitter: @ACCinhouse.