Crime-Fraud Exception Law & Legal Definition


The crime-fraud exception is a common rule accepted by the courts. The crime-fraud exception applies to work product privilege as well as the attorney client privilege. The crime-fraud exception states that the attorney-client and the attorney-work-product privilege may be disregarded when the client’s communication to his attorney is in furtherance of a current or a planned crime or fraud.

The crime-fraud doctrine does not apply where the services of an attorney was sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit what the client knew or reasonably should have known to be a fraud. Milroy v. Hanson, 902 F. Supp. 1029, 1032 (D. Neb. 1995)

“Crime-fraud exception only applies when the legal advice "gives direction for the commission of future fraud or crime.” Pallon v. Roggio, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 59881 (D.N.J. Aug. 23, 2006)