- Childrens’ services referrals—the duty of confidence and the public interest (A local authority v AM)
- What are the practical implications of this case?
- What was the background?
- What did the court decide?
- Case details
Local Government analysis: The court held that there had been a breach of the duty of confidence by a father who managed to remove redactions from a referral to the local authority’s Childrens’ Services in relation to his daughter, and used the information to threaten legal proceedings against the referrer. The court considered that even if the referral was malicious, this would not be sufficient in and of itself to carve out an exception to the principle established in the Supreme Court decision in A (a child) which is the important public interest in preserving the confidence of people who come forward with allegations of child abuse. The father could not, on the facts, establish a public interest defence and an injunction was made preventing him from retaining or utilising the confidential information contained in the referral. Written by Sophie Caseley, barrister at Garden Court Chambers.
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