Breach of Confidence
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Breach of Confidence

Social Origins and Modern Developments

Megan Richardson, Michael Bryan, Martin Vranken and Katy Barnett

This concise yet detailed book explores the historical foundations and modern developments of the ancient doctrine of breach of confidence. The authors show that despite its humble beginnings, stilted development and air of quaintness the doctrine has modern relevance and influence, its sense of ‘trust and confidence’ still resonating with the information society of today. Topical chapters include, ‘Inventing an equitable doctrine’, ‘Privacy and publicity in early Victorian Britain’, ‘Searching for balance in the employment relationship’, as well as many others.
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Chapter 8: Epilogue: The Reinvention of Tradition

Megan Richardson, Michael Bryan, Martin Vranken and Katy Barnett

Extract

8. Epilogue: the reinvention of tradition Where is the doctrine of breach of confidence now? Can it be located in the statement of Lord Hope in the leading post-Human Rights Act case, Campbell v Mirror Group Newspapers Ltd that: [A] duty of confidence will arise whenever the party subject to the duty is in a situation where he knows or ought to know that the other person can reasonably expect his privacy to be protected. The difficulty will be as to the relevant facts, bearing in mind that, if there is an intrusion in a situation where he knows or ought to know that the other person can reasonably expect his privacy to be respected, that intrusion will be capable of giving rise to liability unless the intrusion can be justified: . . .1 Lord Hope cites Lord Goff in Spycatcher as authority for this proposition, and accepts along with Lord Goff that where the public interest in disclosure is invoked as a counterweight to the interest in maintaining confidentiality as against a person who has notice of confidence this ‘may require a court to carry out a balancing operation, weighing the public interest in maintaining confidence against a countervailing public interest favouring disclosure’.2 Thus, it is suggested, the law of confidence has not substantially changed with the Human Rights Act but has simply become more refined in its elucidation of principles that conform with the human rights standards of the Convention – an approach that may appeal in other common law jurisdictions...

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