AuthorJennifer Duncan-Brice
Def‌initions: A privilege is the right of a person to refuse to disclose (or to compel others to refuse to disclose) certain
information that would otherwise be obtainable. For public policy reasons, the law has determined to permit certain kinds
of information to remain secret. For example, conf‌idential communications between attorney and client, or physician
and patient, or with a member of the clergy, or between spouses have been deemed “privileged” by the Legislature. In
addition, some kinds of information—such as tax returns, trade secrets and the like—are so inherently conf‌idential that
the courts have erected barriers to their disclosure.
Scope of Chapter: Rules and techniques applicable to all privileges. Specif‌ic rules and techniques applicable to the
following privileges: attorney-client, work product, common interest, self incrimination, trade secrets, physician-patient,
mental health communications, spousal communications, communications to clergy, and news media sources.
Purposes and Policies: Privileges arise in a variety of contexts and are based on different policy goals. Some of the
main public policies regarding privileges are to:
Encourage people to seek professional advice and freely disclose information to the adviser without fear
the facts will be made public.
Encourage open communications between husband and wife, thereby preserving the sanctity of marriage.
Prevent competitors from gaining access to the crux of the business operation or method of gaining access.
Prevent excessive or brutal persuasion of witnesses to force testimony or statements that may or may not be true.
Statutes and Rules: 735 ILCS 5/8-801 (husband/wife); 735 ILCS 5/8-802 (health practitioner/patient) 735 ILCS
5/8-802.1 (rape crisis personnel); 735 ILCS 5/8-802.2 (victims of violent crimes); 735 ILCS 5/8-803 (clergy); 735
ILCS 5/8-901-5/8-909 (reporter); 735 ILCS 5/8-910 (voter); 735 ILCS 5/8-911 (interpreter); 225 ILCS 450/27
(accountant/client); 735 ILCS 5/8-2101 (Medical Studies Act); 740 ILCS 110/3(a) (Mental Health and Developmental
Disabilities Conf‌identiality Act); 765 ILCS 1065/1 (Illinois Trade Secrets Act). SCR 201(n) (privileges generally); SCR
222(h) (limited and simplif‌ied discovery).
Related Topics: All Discovery, Ch 20; Production of Documents and Other Things, Ch 22; Interrogatories, Ch 25;
Requests for Admissions, Ch 26; Discovery Disputes, Ch 27.
Illinois Pretrial Practice 21-2
A. Overview
1. Def‌initions, Purposes
§21:01 Privilege Def‌ined
§21:02 Qualif‌ied vs. Absolute
§21:03 Purposes
§21:04 Defeating Privilege
2. Creation, Duration, Remedies for Wrongful Disclosure
§21:10 Privileges Arise as a Matter of Law
§21:11 Duration
§21:12 Remedies After Wrongful Disclosure
3. Impact on Discovery
§21:20 Privileged Information Not Freely Discoverable
§21:21 Requesting Privileged Information
§21:22 Ex Parte Requests
4. Governing Law & Construction
§21:30 Statutes and Rules
§21:31 Constitutional Provision
§21:32 Common Law
§21:33 Construed Narrowly
B. Asser ting a Privilege
§21:40 Options
§21:41 Who Can Assert Privilege
§21:42 Procedure to Assert Privilege
§21:43 Deadline for Asserting Privilege
§21:44 Privilege Log
C. Waiving a Privilege
1. Basic Points
§21:50 Analytical Approaches to Waiver
§21:51 Waiver Is Final
§21:52 Waiver Does Not Authorize Ex Parte Discovery
§21:53 Extent of Waiver
§21:54 Place at Issue
§21:55 Doctrine of Dual Representation
§21:56 Crime Fraud Exception
2. By Whom
§21:60 Waiver by Holder
§21:61 Authorized Waiver by Agent
§21:62 Unauthorized Disclosure by Agent
§21:63 By Attorney
§21:64 Disclosure to Experts
3. How
a. Intentional Disclosure
§21:70 Statement of Rule and Rationale
§21:71 With Knowledge of the Privilege
§21:72 With Intent to Disclose
§21:73 Without Coercion
§21:74 Partial Disclosure
§21:75 Extrajudicial Disclosure
b. Implied Intent
§21:80 Intent Implied From Conduct
§21:81 Negligent Disclosure
21-3 Privileges
c. Placing Privileged Matter at Issue
§21:90 Reliance on Privileged Matter
§21:91 Health Care Providers
§21:92 Interests of Justice
§21:93 Derivative Action by Shareholder Against Corporation
D. Compelling Disclosure
§21:100 Motion Procedure
§21:101 Burden on Party Claiming Privilege
§21:102 Court Review of Material
§21:103 Scope of Compelled Production
§21:104 Interlocutory Appeal
A. General Points
§21:110 Basic Rule
§21:111 Survival of Privilege
§21:112 Educate Client
§21:113 Lay Groundwork for Motions
§21:114 Conf‌licts of Law
§21:115 Burden
§21:116 Subject Matter Waiver
B. Elements of a Privileged Communication
1. Must be a “Communication ”
§21:120 Def‌inition and Form of Communication
§21:121 Existence of Communication Not Privileged
§21:122 Facts Communicated Not Privileged
§21:123 Client’s Identity and Address Not Privileged
2. Must Be in the Course of Professional Employment
§21:130 Attorney-Client Relationship Necessary
§21:131 Payment Not Determinative
§21:132 Applicable to Non-Party
§21:133 Representation Not Determinative
3. Must Be a Conf‌idential Communication
a. Client; At torney; Their Agents
§21:140 Requirement
§21:141 Client
§21:142 Client Acting on Behalf of Another
§21:143 Control Group of Corporation
§21:144 Lawyer’s Agents or Client’s Agents
§21:145 Insurance Investigators
§21:146 Spouse as Agent
b. Experts
§21:150 Opinion Witnesses
§21:151 Consulting Experts
§21:152 Party Testifying as Expert
§21:153 Physical and Mental Examinations
c. Multiple Clients or Multiple Attorneys
§21:160 Common Interest Clients
§21:161 Multiple Attorneys
C. Exceptions
§21:170 Client Consents
§21:171 Threat of Death or Serious Bodily Harm
§21:172 Court Orders Disclosure
§21:173 Client Intends to Commit a Crime

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