What is the difference between ‘private’ and ‘confidential’ information?
Confidential information essentially refers to secret information that has a quality of confidence about it. The information you share with a doctor, or that an employee shares with their employer, will usually be confidential information. The law of breach of confidence is well-established and you can read more about it here.
Private information is any information over which you have a realistic expectation of privacy. Unlike with defamation claims, the truth of the statement is generally not relevant. The sole issue is whether the information is private.
Often, the position will be obvious, for example, where the media publishes a salacious story about a public figure’s sex life. Sometimes it is not so obvious, or the publisher may claim that it is in the public interest for the private information to be disclosed. Legal assistance is essential to determine if you have a claim.
The information will need to be substantial in nature for there to be a breach of privacy claim. Where the information is technically private but bland or trivial, the Court may decide to strike the claim out.
How can Collyer Bristow help?
You need to act quickly with a breach of privacy claim. Where a breach is imminent, then our priority will be to prevent it from occurring. This may involve a legal ‘cease and desist’ notice or an urgent application for an injunction.
Where a breach of privacy has already taken place, we can pursue a claim for damages. Damages can be claimed for the loss of control over the private information, the distress and embarrassment suffered, and any financial losses suffered as a direct result of the breach.
In short, we will choose the best approach to maximise your prospects of success. Privacy law is complex, and we will always consider alternative options, including alternative dispute resolution and other courses of action such as crisis management and media strategy, to help you achieve the best outcome.
View our Media & Privacy page.