In a blow to multinational businesses and their in-house counsel, the European Court of Justice on Tuesday held that communications between company management and in-house lawyers are not protected from disclosure or discovery in competition law cases or investigations by the European Commission.

“The ECJ ruling has serious ramifications as it denies in-house attorneys and multinational businesses in Europe and elsewhere the critical legal counsel on competition law matters that companies working in today’s global legal marketplace require,” said London solicitor J. Daniel Fitz, former chairman of the board of the Association of Corporate Counsel, which had intervened in the case.

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