Breach of Confidentiality

What to do if Confidentiality has been breached?


Warning Infringers

Imposing a specific written obligation of confidentiality on those to whom you disclose confidential information, whether an employee or a third party, will put the potential misuser on alert and should help to deter casual or innocent disclosure or misuse.

If you suspect or know that the confidential information has been disclosed or misused to your detriment (or is about to be), the normal first step is to send a solicitor\'s letter before action requiring an appropriate response (e.g. an undertaking not to disclose the confidential information) within a defined timescale. That letter may result either in an immediate retreat, an offer to negotiate or discuss the issue, an unsatisfactory response, or non-response.

If correspondence suggests that legal action is inevitable, further legal advice will be necessary to establish relative strengths and merits, the cost/benefit of taking action and to consider the remedies you seek.

Taking Legal Action

In order to stop an act or continuance or repetition of an act quickly, you may be advised to seek an injunction. However, this will only be granted if you act as soon as you are aware of potential trouble.

As well as an injunction (or as an alternative if the damage has already been done) you may seek either damages equal to your losses or the market value of the information, or an account of profits (based on the profits made by the infringer).

If you fear that vital evidence may be destroyed, or if assets from which you may be paid your damages may disappear, urgent legal advice should be taken as special legal remedies may be available.

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