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Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 1700
Experience:  Expert
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A confidential statement I made was left unredacted and sent

Customer Question

A confidential statement I made was left unredacted and sent to all parties in an adoption case causing family conflict
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: England
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: I have emails from the council social worker acknowledging the mistake however they are blaming the solicitors and the solicitor is blaming the council
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: no
Submitted: 20 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

Hello, my name is***** hope you are well today. I am a qualified Solicitor, and I will be able to help you by providing you with an answer to your question today. I specialise in UK and Irish Law. I am not always online but rest assured if I do not respond immediately I will respond when I return.

Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

Is there anything else you feel is relevant to your question or anything else you would like to add before we continue?

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Hello,I made the statement to a social worker for bexley council, the statement was against my brother who I stated was not a good father to his first born son etc..I was in favour and supporting an adoption for his mothers partner.My brother hadn’t seen his son in around 7 years and I had no contact with my brother.I stated I was happy to make the statement but on the understanding that it not be shared as it would cause family conflict between my mother and sister.I was assured by the social worker the statement was confidential and only to be seen by the judge.On 13th May I was contacted by my ex sister in law to say in court today she and my estranged brother had both been sent emails from her solicitor containing my full unredaacted statement.The judge advised at the start of the proceeding that he was aware a breach had occurred and asked if all parties had read the documents which they had.
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Since then I had contact with the social worker who has been firmly blaming the solicitor
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
The solicitor has today emailed me saying they where sent an unredacted report and where given no direction to not disclose it.
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
I am aware it wasn’t just my statement that was shared, the solicitors pa also sent out in the email bank documents and other personal information for both parties.The only part that concerned me was my statement
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Since this I have been left with no contact with my sister and a damaged relationship with my sick mum.I want to know what I can do
Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

I understand. I am sorry to read about your experience. Once you have given them confidential information and they've passed it on to someone else without your permission, you can sue for breach of confidentiality. The duty of confidentiality is not a property or proprietary right. It's a legal right to prevent its transmission to another person in breach of a confidential relationship.

The duty of confidentiality arises when a person receives information and:

(a) the person knows, or
(b) should have known, that the communication contained confidential information in the circumstances of the communication.

You should first raise a complaint to the solicitor, they should have a complaints procedure that you can follow. However, you can also take legal action immediately against them. You can sue them for breach of confidentiality.

Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

Is there anything else I can help with today?

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** do that solely with the solicitor or with the social worker/council also?
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
File attached (Q3Z7614)
Customer: replied 20 days ago.
This is what the solicitor has said so far.. I have had to chase contact since 13th May this is the first response
Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

I see they only received the report from the social worker.

Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

You can sue them for breach of confidentiality and claim compensation for what they have done.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
That’s what they are saying that as it was unredacted they sent it out
Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

I understand. All solicitors in the UK are governed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) which sets codes of conduct and quality. In this regard, you should raise a complaint. You should request a copy of the solicitor firm’s complaints procedure and ask who will be dealing with your complaint.

As to the social worker, you may sue them for breach of confidentiality as you have agreed verbally from the moment you shared the information.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** been very helpful
Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

No problem. Thank you for your enquiry today, please do not hesitate to contact us in future.

Customer: replied 20 days ago.
Sorry one last thing.. will I need a solicitor to sue the solicitor at fault and the council or is it something I can do myself?
Expert:  MARTINT330 replied 20 days ago.

You can do it yourself however it is advisable to instruct a local solicitor.

Thank you for your question on JustAnswer. We are always available to help and please do let me know if you have any other questions I can answer for you.