Court: Intelligence agencies must stop bugging lawyers' offices

Intelligence agencies must stop eavesdropping on confidential conversations between lawyers and their clients, the court in The Hague ruled on Wednesday morning.

The court also ruled that the state should discontinue this practice within 6 months and independent supervision must be arranged, ANP reports.

Law firm Prakken d'Oliveira and the Dutch Association of Defense Council filed a lawsuit against the Dutch State after it was revealed that the General Intelligence and Security Service, AIVD, had been tapping conversations between lawyers and clients at the firm for years. This was evident from a response Minister Ronald Plasterk of Home Affairs sent to the firm in December after a complaint. According to Prakken d'Oliveira, several of their clients now refuse to correspond with their lawyers by telephone or email because they fear they are being bugged.

The lawyers wanted the eavesdropping to stop, or at least that an independent judge determine beforehand whether the eavesdropping is necessary. They believe that this practice infringes to the right to a fair trial. According to the lawyers, everyone should be able to assume that conversations with their lawyers are confidential.