Legal Professional Privilege and the Privilege Against Self-Incrimination in EU Competition Law after the Lisbon Treaty – Is It Time for a Substantial Change?

Is there, in the context of the recent developments related to the Lisbon Treaty, a need for substantial change with respect to the scope and application of legal professional privilege (LPP) and the privilege against self-incrimination (PASI) in competition law proceedings before the European Commission? To answer this question this article first briefly describes the current scope of LPP and PASI in EU competition law enforcement proceedings. This is followed by a presentation of the impact that the binding effect of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (Charter) and the EU’s prospective accession to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (Convention) may have on LPP and PASI. This analysis includes reasons why it may be necessary for the Commission and the EU Courts to reconsider the current scope of the privileges, and examines what could be considered as significant changes in this respect. In the event arguments for radical reform do not find the requisite political support, the article elaborates some nuanced improvements which could be implemented.
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