New Jersey

N.J.S. 2A:84A-23. Cleric-penitent privilege

23. Rule 511. Cleric-penitent privilege.

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.

L.1960,c.52,s.23; amended 1981,c.303,s.2; 1994,c.123.

The information above was taken from the New Jersey Statutes Database and is assembled as a service to Ministers of the Universal Life Church.  Persons subpoenaed to appear and testify in a court of law or other legal proceeding must make their own decisions whether this law applies to them.  This page is not intended to provide legal advice.