Privileges Law and Legal Definition

A privilege is an immunity from disclosure for conversation that takes places within the context of a protected relationship, such as that between an attorney and client, a husband and wife, a priest and penitent, and a doctor or therapist and patient. In some states the privilege is extended to reporters and informants. While the law may protect forced disclosure of such conversations, there are exceptions that can invalidate a privileged communication, and there are various circumstances where it can be waived, either purposefully or unintentionally.

To qualify for privileged status, communications must generally be made in a setting where there is an expectation of privacy. The privilege is lost when all or part of the communication is disclosed to a third person. The reason for the privilege is to allow people to speak with candor to spouse or professional counsellor, even though it may hinder a criminal prosecution.