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Characterisation of Breach of Confidence as a Privacy Tort in Private International Law


Michael Douglas

Certain kinds of breach of confidence may be characterised as torts, at least for the purposes of Australian private international law, in respect of rules of jurisdiction and choice of law. When a breach of confidence involves a misuse of private information, a tortious characterisation is appropriate. This view is consistent with appellate authority recognising the unique character of equitable jurisdiction. The article begins by considering debates concerning the juridical basis of breach of confidence, and its metamorphosis into the tort of misuse of private information. The very existence of that debate indicates that breach of confidence may intelligibly have more than one character. The substantive principles of breach of confidence inform the way that cross-border problems ought to be resolved in private international law. The remainder of the article considers characterisation in respect of long-arm jurisdictional rules, and then in respect of choice-of-law rules.

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(2018) 41(2) UNSWLJ 490: