Members acquire and hold confidential information, including information subject to data protection and other laws, and ensure that such information is not deliberately or accidentally disclosed to unauthorised third parties. Confidential information cannot be used by members for personal advantage; the information must be used solely for the benefit of the parties in respect of whom it was obtained.
The duty to preserve confidentiality continues indefinitely and so is not dependant on the continuance of the relationship during which the information was received, even after the termination of the client’s retainer. Members or member’s firm may only act against a former client or for a party opposed to a former client if they are able to do so without disclosing confidential information obtained from the former client.
Where members believe that they are under a legal duty to disclose confidential information they must verify that duty by seeking independent appropriate advice. Members may also wish to consult with others with demonstrable subject matter expertise within their firm.