Rules of Evidence Table of Contents
(a) Definitions. As used in this rule:
(1) A "client" is a person, public officer, or corporation, association, or other organization or entity, either public or private, who is rendered professional legal services by a lawyer, or who consults a lawyer with a view to obtaining professional legal services from him.
(2) A "representative of a client" is one having authority to obtain professional legal services, or to act on advice rendered pursuant thereto, on behalf of the client.
(3) A "lawyer" is a person authorized, or reasonably believed by the client to be authorized, to engage in the practice of law in any state or nation.
(4) A "representative of the lawyer" is one employed by the lawyer to assist the lawyer in the rendition of professional legal services.
(5) A communication is "confidential" if not intended to be disclosed to third persons other than those to whom disclosure is made in furtherance of the rendition of professional legal services to the client or those reasonably necessary for the transmission of the communication.
(b) General Rule of Privilege. A client has a privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing confidential communications made for the purpose of facilitating the rendition of professional legal services to the client (1) between the client or his or her representative and the client's lawyer or the lawyer's representative, (2) between the client's lawyer and the lawyer's representative, (3) by the client or the client's representative or the client's lawyer or a representative of the lawyer to a lawyer or a representative of a lawyer representing another party in a pending action and concerning a matter of common interest therein, (4) between representatives of the client or between the client and a representative of the client, or (5) among lawyers and their representatives representing the same client.
(c) Who May Claim the Privilege. The privilege may be claimed by the client, the client's guardian or conservator, the personal representative of a deceased client, or the successor, trustee, or similar representative of a corporation, association, or other organization, whether or not in existence. The person who was the lawyer or the lawyer's representative at the time of the communication is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the client.
(d) Exceptions. There is no privilege under this rule:
(1) Furtherance of Crime or Fraud. If the services of the lawyer were sought or obtained to enable or aid anyone to commit or plan to commit in the future what the client knew or reasonably should have known to be a crime or fraud;
(2) Claimants Through Same Deceased Client. As to a communication relevant to an issue between parties who claim through the same deceased client, regardless of whether the claims are by testate or intestate succession or by inter vivos transaction;
(3) Breach of Duty by a Lawyer or Client. As to a communication relevant to an issue of breach of duty by the lawyer to his client or by the client to his lawyer;
(4) Document Attested by a Lawyer. As to a communication relevant to an issue concerning an attested document to which the lawyer is an attesting witness;
(5) Joint Clients. As to a communication relevant to a matter of common interest between or among two or more clients if the communication was made by any of them to a lawyer retained or consulted in common, when offered in an action between or among any of the clients.
2016 NHRE Update Committee Note
No change was made to New Hampshire Rule of Evidence 502 by supreme court order dated April 20, 2017, effective July 1, 2017. None of the privilege rules were adopted from the Federal Rules of Evidence so they were not part of the Update Committee’s targeted review. Some of the rules of privilege are adopted from the Uniform Rules of Evidence and some of them summarize New Hampshire statutes on privilege that were in existence at the time the New Hampshire Rules of Evidence were adopted. The Uniform Rules of Evidence were modified in 2005. The Update Committee did not make recommendations to amend these rules based upon Uniform Rule modifications.
Rules of Evidence Table of Contents