Duty of Confidentiality in UK Law

Leading Cases
  • Bolkiah (Prince Jefri) v KPMG (A Firm)
    • House of Lords
    • 18 Diciembre 1999

    The fiduciary relationship which subsists between solicitor and client comes to an end with the termination of the retainer. Thereafter the solicitor has no obligation to defend and advance the interests of his former client. The only duty to the former client which survives the termination of the client relationship is a continuing duty to preserve the confidentiality of information imparted during its subsistence.

    It is a duty to keep the information confidential, not merely to take all reasonable steps to do so. But he is entitled to prevent his former solicitor from exposing him to any avoidable risk; and this includes the increased risk of the use of the information to his prejudice arising from the acceptance of instructions to act for another client with an adverse interest in a matter to which the information is or may be relevant.

  • Campbell v Frisbee
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 14 Octubre 2002

    We consider that it is arguable that a duty of confidentiality that has been expressly assumed under contract carries more weight, when balanced against the restriction of the right of freedom of expression, than a duty of confidentiality that is not buttressed by express agreement – contrast the observations of Walker LJ in London Regional Transport v The Mayor of London [2001] EWCA Civ 1491 at paragraph 46 with those of Lord Donaldson of Lymington MR in Attorney General v Barker [1990] 3 All ER 257 at p.260.

  • Attorney General v Guardian Newspapers Ltd and Others (No. 2)
    • House of Lords
    • 13 Octubre 1988

    I start with the broad general principle (which I do not intend in any way to be definitive) that a duty of confidence arises when confidential information comes to the knowledge of a person (the confidant) in circumstances where he has notice, or is held to have agreed, that the information is confidential, with the effect that it would be just in all the circumstances that he should be precluded from disclosing the information to others.

    It is that the principle of confidentiality only applies to information to the extent that it is confidential. In particular, once it has entered what is usually called the public domain (which means no more than that the information in question is so generally accessible that, in all the circumstances, it cannot be regarded as confidential) then, as a general rule, the principle of confidentiality can have no application to it.

  • Associated Newspapers Ltd v His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 21 Diciembre 2006

    For these reasons, the test to be applied when considering whether it is necessary to restrict freedom of expression in order to prevent disclosure of information received in confidence is not simply whether the information is a matter of public interest but whether, in all the circumstances, it is in the public interest that the duty of confidence should be breached.

  • Marcel and Others v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis and Others
    • Court of Appeal (Civil Division)
    • 23 Julio 1991

    The statutory powers given to the police are plainly coupled with a public law duty. The precise extent of the duty is, I think, difficult to define in general terms beyond saying that the powers must be exercised only in the public interest and with due regard to the rights of individuals. In the context of the seizure and retention of documents, I would hold that the public law duty is combined with a private law duty of confidentiality towards the owner of the documents.

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  • Data Protection Act 2018
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2018
    ... ... professional, or(b) by another person who in the circumstances owes a duty of confidentiality under an enactment or rule of law ... (2) In Article ... ...
  • Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1998
    ... ... claim to legal professional privilege (or, in Scotland, to confidentiality as between client and professional legal adviser) could be maintained in ... occur in the future,(d) whether the disclosure is made in breach of a duty of confidentiality owed by the employer to any other person,(e) in a case ... ...
  • Freedom of Information Act 2000
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 2000
    ... ... (6) In this Act, the duty" of a public authority to comply with subsection (1) (a) is referred to as \xE2" ... claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings is exempt ... ...
  • Patents Act 1977
    • UK Non-devolved
    • 1 de Enero de 1977
    ... ... sending the European Patent Office any information which it is his duty to send that office under the European Patent Convention ... (5) Where ... shall not be construed as derogating from any duty of confidentiality owed to his employer by an employee by virtue of any rule of law or ... ...
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Books & Journal Articles
  • Banking Law: Christofi v Barclays Bank Plc [1988] 2 All ER 484
    • No. 6-2, April 1998
    • Journal of Financial Crime
    • 142-143
    Where a customer discloses information in confidence in the course of the banker‐customer relationship, but that information has already been made known to a third party as a matter of statutory ri...
    ... ... known to a third party as a matter of statu-tory right, the bank's duty of confidentiality does not apply. FACTS The facts of Christofi v Barclays ... ...
  • Does insider trading pay?. An analysis of trading and tipping activities in insider trading litigation
    • No. 26-2, April 2019
    • Journal of Financial Crime
    • 647-664
    Purpose: This paper analyzes trading and tipping activities in insider trading litigation decided by federal courts from January 1, 2012 to December 31, 2014. Design/methodology/approach: Legal do...
    ... ... Keywords Insider trading, Corporate insiders, Breach of fiduciary duty, Business lawPaper type Research paperIntroductionThe concept of insider ... ...
  • The impact of reporting suspicious transactions regime on banks: Malaysian experience
    • No. 16-2, May 2013
    • Journal of Money Laundering Control
    • 159-170
    Purpose: Reporting suspicious transactions under anti‐money laundering (AML) laws creates a major dilemma for banks. On the one hand, failure to report suspicious transactions is an offence under t...
    ... ... the other hand, if they report the transaction, they may breach their duty of confidentialityto their customer or could be liable for tipping off ... ...
  • Part 4: Confidentiality and the duty of disclosure (Sub‐group 4: Impact of the initiatives on other areas of the law)
    • No. 6-3, July 2003
    • Journal of Money Laundering Control
    • 248-254
    Examines the consequences of disclosing confidential information in the context of provisions of Sections 19 and 20 of the Terrorism Act 2002. Covers criminal law, intermediate law, and civil law, ...
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Law Firm Commentaries
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