January 20


Attorney-Client Privilege case at the Supreme Court: In Re Grand Jury | Law in Practice | Podcast 031

4 Legal English Podcast | Episode 031


On today's docket, we will discuss a case that just had oral arguments at the Supreme Court of the United States. The name of the case is In Re Grand Jury. It is quite unusual for a case to make it to the Supreme Court and the petitioner remain anonymous. The case is about attorney-client privilege and what communication(such as documents) should remain confidential and what is discoverable and needs to be released to the opposing side in a lawsuit. The crux of the argument is to replace the 'primary purpose test' with the 'significant purpose test'. We will also discuss the oral argument process at the supreme court.

You can listen to the 4 Legal English Podcast here, or anywhere where you can find podcasts!

In Re Grand Jury

Legal Issue

The legal issue of the case is to what is the correct test the court should apply when determining if communication is covered under the attorney-client privilege or not.

The Petitioner is asking to reverse the 9th Circuit Court decision and adopt the 'significant purpose test' (instead of the primary purpose test). On this issue, there is a circuit-split (i.e., some circuits are applying a different test then other circuits. This is a common reason for the Supreme Court to accept a case, in order to resolve this circuit split.)

Lexicon Words

  • bona fide
  • disclose / disclosure
  • good faith
  • grand jury
  • In Re
  • legitimate
  • Oral Arguments
  • privilege
  • privileged communications
  • proponent
  • redact / redactions

Links & Resources

Some of the sources used for this episode, as well as other links that may be helpful.

  1. The Supreme Court's website provides both the audio and a transcript of the oral argument
  2. The case on SCOTUSBlog is here
  3. The case on Oyez is here
  4. Reuters article here
  5. A law firm's, K&L, take on the case

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4 Legal English Podcast

What do you think? Which side has the better argument? How does attorney-client communication work in your jurisdiction? 

Are there any terms from the podcast you would like further explained? Comment below!

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Criminal Law, SCOTUS

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