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Evaluate The Extent To Which The Tort Of Breach Of Confidence Restricts Freedom Of Expression

870 words - 4 pages

Breach of confidence is the disclosure of trade secrets information due to your place of work, if this information is disclosed it can be prevented by using a prohibitory injunction. It was established in the case of Prince Albert V Strange 1849. Where Prince Albert obtained an injunction preventing publication of drawings made by him and Queen Victoria, when unauthorised copies were made, however, previously the meaning of ‘confidential’ was vague and there was no general protection for privacy or private information. Breach of confidence can sometimes restrict Freedom of Expression. Freedom of expression is Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998. There are 2 main sections of this section ...view middle of the document...

Conversely, in the case of X v Y, where because of the public interest confidentiality of the defendants medical records were kept. This shows that there is a narrow line between what should be kept private. As seen it is a constant conflict with freedom of expression as finding the line between which is more important and more of a necessity.
To prove a successful Breach of Confidence case there are 3 different points which needs to be achieved before breach of confidence is proven. Firstly, there is the issue of if a breach of confidence has occurred and whether relevant information has been disclosed. Secondly, it has to be considered as being in the public interest, which could be the decider of ‘justifiable’ and ‘unjustifiable’ decisions such as wrongdoings by the government (deemed to be in the public interest). Finally, it need to be questioned that is there going to be greater public interest with publication of this information. Similarly, this was shown in the case of The Spycatcher, where all 3 points of breach of confidence was proven. As Peter Wright who was a former member of the MI5 disclosed confidential information regarding the MI5 putting the country at potential threat. After a series of injunctions and court dismissals the book was allowed to be published with the final decision from the House of Lords who considered the book as not being harmful.
The Human Rights Act 1998 was passed in order to...

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