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The most common form is attorney-client privilege. This protects confidential communications between a client and his legal adviser for the dominant purpose of legal advice. The rationale is that clients ought to be able to communicate freely with their lawyers, in order to facilitate the proper functioning of the legal system.
The effect of the privilege is usually a right on the part of a party to a case, allowing them to prevent evidence from being introduced in the form of testimony from the person to whom the privilege runs. For example, a person can generally prevent his attorney from testifying about their legal relationship, even if the attorney were willing to do so. In a few instances, such as the marital privilege, the privilege is a right held by the potential witness. Thus, if a wife wishes to testify against her husband, she may do so even if he opposes this testimony; however, the wife has the privilege of refusing to testify even if the husband wishes her to do so.
A privilege is a grant of permission to carry out a particular act.
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