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Report No. 93

2.8. Consideration of public policy as creating privilege.-

No doubt, considerations of public policy have led to the emergence of certain privileges, available in certain special situation.1 In law, a privilege is an immunity or exemption conferred by special grant to a certain class or individual in derogation of a common right.2 Usually, a privilege or disability is created by law on the ground of some consideration of public policy. The law excludes, or dispenses with, some kinds of evidence on grounds of public policy, because it is thought that greater mischiefs would probably result from requiring or permitting the admission of such evidence than from granting a privilege or creating a disability in respect thereof. Where privilege is granted, it is based upon a recognition that in appropriate circumstances the public benefits more from protecting the particular relationship, than it is injured by the impediments which such privileges may cause to the administration of justice.

1. Chapter 3, infra.

2. Webster's New World Dictionary, (1955), p. 1160.

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