Breach of confidence in English law

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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.[1] 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.[1]

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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b

The law commission (1981). Breach of confidence (PDF). Her Majesty's stationery office. Retrieved 2016-10-10.