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Law of Confidence - Notes - L a w o f C o n fid e n c e...

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1 Cause of Action and Defences Law of Confidence Law of Confidential Information Only recognised as a branch of the law of tort around 1850 Case of Prince Albert v Strange (1848) 2 De G & Sm 652 Arose out of the growing need to protect trade secrets What it protects: secret formulas, recipes, price lists, client lists, financial information, embarrassing personal details, sensitive information, etc Law of Confidential Information cont’d Basis of this branch of the law: If a man has promised to keep a secret, he must be held to his promise. However, basis for an action for breach of confidence may lie in equity or contract or at common law An example of the law endorsing an ethical principle Duty of secrecy will arise where there is an obligation of confidentiality
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2 Establishing a Claim for Breach of Confidence Three elements needed: Information which has the necessary quality of confidence Information imparted in circumstances imposing an obligation of confidence Unauthorized or threatened use of that information to the detriment (damage) of the owner of the information What makes information confidential? Objective test: would a reasonable man, in the position of the defendant, have realized that the information he has in his possession is confidential? Arguably, this test presumes that there exist circumstances imposing an obligation of confidence Confidential Relationships
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