What is solicitor-client privilege and what is the scope of the privilege?

Nova Scotia, Canada

The following excerpt is from R. v. Herritt, 2019 NSCA 92 (CanLII):

It is useful to recall what is protected by solicitor-client privilege. Major J., writing on behalf of the full court in Pritchard v. Ontario (Human Rights Commission), 2004 SCC 31 defined the scope of the privilege:

Solicitor-client privilege describes the privilege that exists between a client and his or her lawyer. Clients must feel free and protected to be frank and candid with their lawyers with respect to their affairs so that the legal system, as we have recognized it, may properly function: see Smith v. Jones, 1999 CanLII 674 (SCC), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 455, at para. 46.

Dickson J. outlined the required criteria to establish solicitor-client privilege in Solosky v. The Queen, 1979 CanLII 9 (SCC), [1980] 1 S.C.R. 821, at p. 837, as: “(i) a communication between solicitor and client; (ii) which entails the seeking or giving of legal advice; and (iii) which is intended to be confidential by the parties”. Though at one time restricted to communications exchanged in the course of litigation, the privilege has been extended to cover any consultation for legal advice, whether litigious or not: see Solosky, at p. 834.

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