Human Rights Act & The Common Law of Duty

We’ll usually only share your personal information when we need to, so that we can provide services to you

Before we share your personal information, we have to consider the Human Rights Act (HRA) and the Common Law Duty of Confidentially (CLDC).  

Human Rights Act

Article 8 of the Human Rights Act says that everyone has a right to respect for:

  • Their private and family life
  • Their home
  • Their correspondence

We are allowed to override your rights if we have a legitimate reason. These include: 

  • National security
  • Public safety
  • The country’s economic wellbeing
  • Preventing crime or public disorder
  • Protecting health and morals
  • Protecting the rights and freedoms of  other people

This means that Article 8 of the Human Rights Act is a qualified right. The Council can override this right when it is necessary to meet one or more of the legitimate aims. 

We can override your rights when it is necessary, this means we have to make sure that sharing or disclosing your personal information is proportionate to meet one or more of the legitimate reasons.

It is a balancing act between protecting your privacy and making sure that we also protect those who may be affected by your actions.

Common Law Duty of Confidentiality

The Common Law Duty of Confidentiality is, as the name suggests, common law.  

Some information has something called a “quality of confidence”. This means the information that has been shared with us shouldn’t be shared with anyone else. 

Information has a “quality of confidence” if: 

  • It isn’t in the public domain or available anywhere else
  • It’s considered sensitive
  • It’s been shared for a specific reason and in certain circumstances - between a solicitor and a client, a doctor and a patient etc.

We’re allowed to override your right to confidentiality if there is other law that lets us do this or if there is an overriding public interest that justifies it.  This might include: 

  • Protecting children or vulnerable adults
  • Preventing or detecting crime
  • Protecting public safety

Does the Council have any protocols about sharing or disclosing information?

Yes. All Dorset councils and a number of other Dorset public sector authorities use the Dorset Over-Arching Information Sharing Protocol (DOAISP).  

Where can I find out more?

Legislation and common law that protects or affects privacy is complex. The information provided here does not represent the law or legislation in full. You can find out more online or at your local library.