Confidentiality and disclosure—regulatory requirements for law firms 2011 [Archived]
Confidentiality and disclosure—regulatory requirements for law firms 2011 [Archived]

The following Practice Compliance practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Confidentiality and disclosure—regulatory requirements for law firms 2011 [Archived]
  • The duty of confidentiality
  • Specific examples
  • Confidentiality and conflict
  • Confidentiality and outsourcing
  • The duty of disclosure
  • Exceptions to the duty of disclosure
  • Confidentiality versus disclosure
  • Legal professional privilege
  • Advice privilege
  • More...

Protection of confidential information is fundamental to your relationship with clients, both as a matter of law and as a matter of conduct. This duty continues despite the end of the retainer and even after the death of the client.

Chapter 4 of the SRA Code of Conduct 2011 deals with confidentiality but the SRA does not:

  1. give a definition of confidential information—for more guidance on this, see Practice Note: Material confidential information and adverse interests

  2. prescribe detailed rules for identifying and managing confidentiality issues

This Practice Note reflects the requirements of the SRA Handbook 2011. It has not been updated for the SRA Standards and Regulations, in force from 25 November 2019. See Practice Notes: Duties of confidentiality and disclosure 2019 and Duties of confidentiality and disclosure—SRA 2011 regime and SRA 2019 regime compared for more information on the revised requirements.

This Practice Note covers the SRA’s regulatory requirements regarding confidential information belonging to current or former clients. It does not address confidentiality obligations to non-clients, eg under a confidentiality agreement with a third party. For more information on the law of confidentiality in general, see subtopic: Confidential information.

The duty of confidentiality

You must keep the affairs of clients confidential unless:

  1. disclosure is required or permitted by law, or

  2. the client consents

Specific examples

The SRA give two examples of the restrictions on disclosing confidential information. You should not disclose:

  1. the content

Popular documents