December 17, 2008
Australia Redefines Old Tort of "Breach of Confidence"
The Australian reports that the Victorian Court of Appeal in Australia has expanded the old tort of "breach of confidence" to allow liability even if the publisher of material created in confidence was "unaware the material in question is covered by the relationship of confidence."
Before last week's ruling, damages were only payable for a breach of confidence in Australia if the plaintiff had suffered a psychological or psychiatric injury. But the Court of Appeal liberalised this test so damages can be claimed in Victoria by those who are merely distressed by publication of material created during a relationship of confidence. Because the decision affects material generated during a relationship of confidence, it has a narrower effect than the proposed statutory tort for breach of privacy that the Federal Government is considering.
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