02-13Posted on Dec 31, 2002 in Formal Opinions
Opinion Letter No. 02-13
December 31, 2002
Attorney Client Privilege
A letter from the Maui County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney (“Maui Prosecutor”) to the Chair of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (“DLNR”) written in response to a question from the Chair regarding possible violations of the law by a non-government entity is not protected by the attorney-client privilege.
The DLNR and the Maui Prosecutor do not have an attorney-client relationship under Rule 503, Hawaii Rules of Evidence, Chapter 626, Hawaii Revised Statutes. Further, the Maui Prosecutor has no authority under the Maui County Charter to act as an attorney representing the DLNR, thus, no attorney-client privilege can attach to information shared between them.
To be protected from public disclosure under the UIPA, a government record has to fall into one of the exceptions to disclosure at section 92F-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes.