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The notion of a Confidence as the relation of intimacy or trust between two persons, one of whom has imparted private or secret matters to the other, would appear to have been present as a social institution for a number of centuries.
It has been only in comparatively recent times that the courts have chosen to attach legal consequences to this relation. It is, however, now quite clear that a confidence is not only a legal obligation, but one which is distinct from other duties or engagements which are enforceable in law.
Since the mechanism by which a confidence is formed is the communication of information for a limited purpose, and since information is the means by which all manner of social relations are consummated, the situations in which the law of confidence has been applied are diverse. Obligations of confidence have been enforced by the courts to regulate the private communications between a client and his professional adviser, the relationship of husband and wife, the dealings of enterprises in the business community, and the discretions or indiscretions of the Cabinet room.
Breach of Confidence is a comprehensive description of the law of confidence. It analyses the various jurisdictional sources on which the courts have relied to enforce confidences, the circumstances in which an enforceable confidence is formed, the acts which constitute an actionable violation of confidence, and the remedies which the courts will grant where confidence has been breached.