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The Law Regulating Confidentiality in UK

Common law is judge made law and professional guidance such as General Medical Council (GMC) is given a lot of weight by judges. It roots in law of equity with importance ascribed to relationships, roles and conscience.

Regulation by contract law (relationship)

- usually in private healthcare;

- unlikely to be applicable in National Health Service (NHS) care setting which possesses employment contract.

Regulation by tort law (relationship)

- actions between parties where there is no formal relationship (e.g. contract) to address 'wrongs';

- negligence: e.g. ABC v St George (consent);

- tort of misuse of private information e.g. Campbell (privacy).

Regulation by criminal law (information)

- theft?

- since you cannot own information (unless Intellectual Property right) so only possess theft of the medium on which the information is stored.

Regulation by human rights law (conscience)

- right to private and family life, article 8.

Regulation by statute law (information)

- Data Protection Act 1998 and upcoming Bill.

Regulation by professional guidance (role and relationship)

- GMC, nursing and midwifery councils etc.

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