Home Table of Contents

KRE 503 Lawyer-client privilege

Baldwin's Kentucky Revised Statutes AnnotatedKentucky Rules of Evidence

Baldwin's Kentucky Revised Statutes Annotated
Kentucky Rules of Evidence (Refs & Annos)
Article V. Privileges
KRE Rule 503
KRE 503 Lawyer-client privilege
(a) Definitions. As used in this rule:
(1) “Client” means a person, including a public officer, corporation, association, or other organization or entity, either public or private, who is rendered professional legal services by a lawyer, or who consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional legal services from the lawyer.
(2) “Representative of the client” means:
(A) A person having authority to obtain professional legal services, or to act on advice thereby rendered on behalf of the client; or
(B) Any employee or representative of the client who makes or receives a confidential communication:
(i) In the course and scope of his or her employment;
(ii) Concerning the subject matter of his or her employment; and
(iii) To effectuate legal representation for the client.
(3) “Lawyer” means a person authorized, or reasonably believed by the client to be authorized to engage in the practice of law in any state or nation.
(4) “Representative of the lawyer” means a person employed by the lawyer to assist the lawyer in rendering professional legal services.
(5) A communication is “confidential” if not intended to be disclosed to third persons other than those to whom disclosure is made in furtherance of the rendition of professional legal services to the client or those reasonably necessary for the transmission of the communication.
(b) General rule of privilege. A client has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing a confidential communication made for the purpose of facilitating the rendition of professional legal services to the client:
(1) Between the client or a representative of the client and the client's lawyer or a representative of the lawyer;
(2) Between the lawyer and a representative of the lawyer;
(3) By the client or a representative of the client or the client's lawyer or a representative of the lawyer to a lawyer or a representative of a lawyer representing another party in a pending action and concerning a matter of common interest therein;
(4) Between representatives of the client or between the client and a representative of the client; or
(5) Among lawyers and their representatives representing the same client.
(c) Who may claim the privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the client, the client's guardian or conservator, the personal representative of a deceased client, or the successor, trustee, or similar representative of a corporation, association, or other organization, whether or not in existence. The person who was the lawyer or the lawyer's representative at the time of the communication is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the client.
(d) Exceptions. There is no privilege under this rule:
(1) Furtherance of crime or fraud. If the services of the lawyer were 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 crime or fraud;
(2) Claimants through same deceased client. As to a communication relevant to an issue between parties who claim through the same deceased client, regardless of whether the claims are by testate or intestate succession or by transaction inter vivos;
(3) Breach of duty by a lawyer or client. As to a communication relevant to an issue of breach of duty by a lawyer to the client or by a client to the lawyer;
(4) Document attested by a lawyer. As to a communication relevant to an issue concerning an attested document to which the lawyer is an attesting witness; and
(5) Joint clients. As to a communication relevant to a matter of common interest between or among two (2) or more clients if the communication was made by any of them to a lawyer retained or consulted in common, when offered in an action between or among any of the clients.


HISTORY: 1992 c 324, § 8, 34, eff. 7-1-92; 1990 c 88, § 25
Legislative Research Commission Note (6-8-11): When this rule was enacted in 1990, it was intended to mirror Section 502 of the Uniform Rules of Evidence Act which was recommended for enactment in all the states by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. Section 502, subsection (b)(3) contained the words “to a lawyer or a representative of a lawyer” preceding the word “representing.” However, that phrase was omitted during the drafting of 1990 HB 214, Section 25 (1990 Ky. Acts ch. 88) because the drafter apparently erroneously considered it to be duplicative of prior text and an error in the language of the Uniform Rule. It is clear to the Reviser of Statutes that it is not duplicative since it is describing to whom a privileged communication may be made. The Reviser of Statutes has reinserted that phrase into subsection (b)(3) to correct that manifest clerical or typographical error under the authority of KRS 7.136.
<Research Note>
Legislative Research Commission Note (7-1-92): Although denominated “rules,” the elements of the Kentucky Rules of Evidence were enacted as statutes by the Kentucky General Assembly. See 1990 Ky. Acts ch. 88; 1992 Ky. Acts ch. 324. Originally codified as KRS Chapter 422A in 1990, the Kentucky Rules of Evidence were renumbered by the Reviser of Statutes, effective July 1, 1992, pursuant to 1992 Ky. Acts ch. 324, sec. 34. By an order dated May 12, 1992, the Kentucky Supreme Court “adopt[ed] so much of the Kentucky Rules of Evidence as enacted by HB 241 [1992 Ky. Acts ch. 324] as comes within the rule making power of the Court, pursuant to Ky. Const. sec. 116.”.
Publisher's Note: KRE 502 and 704 are being reserved for future use.

Editors' Notes

Note: KRE 503 contains provisions analogous to former 421.210, repealed by 1992 c 324, § 30, eff. 7-1-92.
Rules of Evid., Rule 503, KY ST REV Rule 503
Current with amendments received through January 15, 2020.
End of Document© 2020 Thomson Reuters. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.