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Mexico Legal Privilege

Mexican law does not distinguish between in-house and external counsel in matters of privilege. Professional secrecy in the legal profession includes both a right and a duty: the right to refuse to disclose client information; and the obligation not to testify, produce documents or disclose information against the interests of clients. Lawyers cannot be compelled to testify against their clients. Looking ahead: The recognition of solicitor-client privilege in antitrust investigations is a welcome development. These new safeguards should encourage companies with Mexican branches to seek legal advice on antitrust issues before problems arise. Yes, because a company could be the customer and the owner of the information. The legal representative of the company controls the protection on behalf of the company and has the duty to act in the best interests of the company. In June 2017, the Administrative Affairs Council, which specializes in antitrust, broadcasting, and telecommunications laws, issued a binding precedent for the First District, stating that an amparo petition can be filed against the Federal Antitrust Commission`s extraction of information or documents between a lawyer and his client during the course of the investigation. In the committee`s view, constitutional review is permissible because outside counsel are required to defend and protect solicitor-client privilege. Therefore, outside counsel can challenge the Federal Antitrust Commission`s collection of inside information. (Binding precedent PC XXXIII CRT J/12A published by the Antitrust, Broadcasting and Telecommunications Administrative Expert Group for the First Circuit, published in the Federal Judicial Weekly Report and its Official Journal.) Several provisions impose a general obligation of professional secrecy on lawyers and all professionals.

Since there is no specific professional secrecy in Mexican law, the same general obligations of professional secrecy apply to general practitioners and in-house lawyers. Does the accidental disclosure of protected documents by the lawyer and his client remove the privilege? Best practices range from standardizing written communications as privileged and confidential, to educating employees to limit confidential information to key participants only, and copying a lawyer (in-house counsel or outside counsel). However, the fact that there is no communication or obligation on the part of outside lawyers or in-house lawyers to provide the communications requested by opposing lawyers before the court, maintaining the protection of communication between lawyer and client is rarely an issue with practical concerns in Mexican domestic disputes. Sign up and stay up to date with the latest legal news, information and events. Are there other recognized privileges or protections in your jurisdiction that allow lawyers and clients to maintain the confidentiality of communications or deliverables? The exception to this rule is that secrecy does not apply if there are indications that may concern the lawyer not as a defence lawyer but as a co-participant in an illegal act. As a general rule, foreign lawyers are not allowed to practice as lawyers in Mexico and therefore cannot invoke a privilege under professional secrecy. However, there are some international treaties that allow foreign lawyers to practice in Mexico under certain conditions. In that case, they could invoke a privilege, since they would be subject to Mexican law. The guidelines also set out procedures for handling inside communications in the event that a party to a COFECE investigation discloses inside information to the Authority. To qualify for protection, a company that has submitted privileged material to COFECE must submit a written request to the agency specifying the inside information. An independent committee of COFECE – independent of the investigation team – will review the application to determine whether the information is privileged and should be excluded from COFECE`s investigation. The Federal Professional Code provides that all professionals, not just legal professionals, are required to maintain the secrecy of information provided by their clients, with the exception of reports required by applicable law.

The new COFEC rules (the “Guidelines”) set out the protections that the Agency must respect with respect to privileges that balance its competition enforcement mandate with the protection of confidential communications between counsel and clients. According to the guidelines, privileged communications have no evidentiary value and COFECE cannot consider them as evidence in its investigations. In addition, if COFECE receives protected inside information during the course of an investigation, the guidelines prevent COFECE officers from accessing solicitor-client communications. On September 5, the panel of the Mexican Economic Competition Commission (“Cofece”) met to decide whether to approve new regulations on the rights and privileges of clients and lawyers in antitrust proceedings (“settlements”).1 Special laws governing lawyers, such as: Notaries also set their obligation of professional secrecy. When it comes to multi-jurisdictional investigations, one of the main challenges for in-house counsel is maintaining legal secrecy. Material documents, data and communications used in an internal investigation may be recognized as protected by solicitor-client privilege in one jurisdiction, but not in another. These differences can be decisive in shaping the responsibility of a company and individuals, as well as business and reputational risks.

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