Breach of confidence in English law
Breach of confidence in English law is an equitable doctrine which allows a person to claim a remedy when his confidence has been breached. A duty of confidence arises when confidential information comes to the knowledge of a person in circumstances in which it would be unfair if it were disclosed to others. Breach of confidence gives rise to a civil claim. The Human Rights Act has developed the law on breach of confidence so that it now applies to private bodies as well as public ones.
English courts will recognise a breach of confidence if the following three things are present:
- The information has “the necessary degree of confidence about it”
- The information was provided in circumstances importing an obligation of confidence
- There was an unauthorised use or disclosure of that information and, at least, the risk of damage
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