Attorney-client privilege in Hungary

According to the LXXVIII. Law of 2017 on the Activity of Attorneys, an attorney is bound by the attorney-client privilege with regard to all facts, data and information of which he or she became aware in the course of his or her profession.

Within the scope of his or her duty of attorney-client privilege, the attorney is responsible for preventing the disclosure of the fact, data or information that has come to his or her knowledge by an unauthorized third party and for taking the necessary measures.

The attorney-client privilege also extends to other documents prepared and possessed by the attorney, if it contains fact, data, information falling within the scope of attorney-client privilege and covers the client’s personal data, business secrets (business relations, financial position), data covered by bank secrecy or tax secrecy and facts concerning the marital status, contact system and state of health of the client or, where applicable, the opposing party depending on the subject of the mandate.

We can safely say that the attorney-client privilege is one of the most important elements of an attorney-client relationship.

It is important to stress that the obligation of attorney-client privilege arises when the first attorney-client relationship is established. The attorney is obliged to keep the secret entrusted to him or her without time limit even after he or she has fulfilled his or her mandate or if the attorney’s mandate has been terminated for any other reason.

Only the principal, its legal successor or the principal’s legal representative may waive the obligation of confidentiality. If the attorney has become aware of facts, data and information as a defense attorney, he or she cannot be heard as a witness in regard of these facts, datas and information, even in the the obligation of confidentiality has been waived.

The attorney’s attorney-client privilege is not only incumbent on the attorney personally, but also extends to the staff of the law office (trainee lawyer, administrative staff member, clerk) and the officials and employees of the Bar Association.

In addition to disciplinary and ethical liability, those obliged to maintain confidentiality also have financial and criminal liability.

Please note that the above is for general information only, legal advice on individual cases can only be given in the context of an individual consultation, taking into account all the circumstances of the case.