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Attorney-General v Observer Ltd

[1990] 1 AC 109 (HL)

Case summary last updated at 02/02/2020 14:10 by the Oxbridge Notes in-house law team.

Judgement for the case Attorney-General v Observer Ltd

Former senior MI5 agent published his memoirs in various countries outside UK. Numerous references to it were made in UK broadsheets (e.g. Sunday Times started to publish serialisation of book). Attorney-General sought injunctions against broadsheets for breach of confidence. Held:
Lord Keith
·       Even if information has been already published abroad, may still be secret if publishing it in UK would bring it to attention of more people in UK
Lord Goff
·       Information will not be confidential where:
i)         it has entered the public domain
ii)        Information enters public domain where it is so generally accessible it can no longer be said to be confidential
iii)      it is trivial
·       On facts, information had lost quality of confidence.

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