Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statutes: New Jersey

Confidential Clergy Communications Statutes

New Jersey Confidential Clergy Communications Privilege Statute


TITLE 2A. Administration of Civil and Criminal Justice.

Subtitle 9. Evidence, Witnesses and Public Hearings.

Chapter 84A. Rules of Evidence.

Article II. Privileges.

  • 23. Cleric-penitent privilege.Rule 511.Any communication made in confidence to a cleric in the cleric’s professional character, or as a spiritual advisor in the course of the discipline or practice of the religious body to which the cleric belongs or of the religion which the cleric professes, shall be privileged. Privileged communications shall include confessions and other communications made in confidence between and among the cleric and individuals, couples, families or groups in the exercise of the cleric’s professional or spiritual counseling role.As used in this section, “cleric” means a priest, rabbi, minister or other person or practitioner authorized to perform similar functions of any religion.The privilege accorded to communications under this rule shall belong to both the cleric and the person or persons making the communication and shall be subject to waiver only under the following circumstances:

(1) both the person or persons making the communication and the cleric consent to the waiver of the privilege; or

(2) the privileged communication pertains to a future criminal act, in which case, the cleric alone may, but is not required to, waive the privilege.