SJ Quinney College of Law, University of Utah

Utah OnLaw: The Utah Law Review Online Supplement


Evidentiary privileges have generated disagreement since they were first recognized in the law. These privileges exist to prevent a witness from being compelled to disclose certain information. Such protections acknowledge that certain relationships or communications are so important in society that they warrant heightened confidentiality. A number of privileges are designed to protect communications made during professional relationships. These include the relationship between attorney and client, physician and patient, psychotherapist and patient, and clergyman and penitent. In practice, these privileges require “some sacrifice of availability of evidence relevant to the administration of justice.” When parties seek communications and records arising from these relationships, the search for truth must occasionally yield to the protection of individual and societal interests. Such a balance preserves the integrity of these valued relationships.