Don’t let the cat out of the bag: keeping client lists confidential at all times.

Isaac v Dargan Financial Pty Ltd ATF The Dargan Financial Discretionary Trust (ABN 68 702 047 521) (trading under the name of Home Loan Experts) [2018] NSWCA 163

Building a business and client-database is no easy task.  When an employee or contractor leaves, or threatens to leave, the names and contact details of clients assume supreme value. The fear is that this confidential information will fall into the hands of a competitor or the departing employee or contractor will use it for their own gain.

The first question is whether there were appropriate safeguards for this information during the employment or contractual relationship: for example, were client details password-protected and only imparted to employees or subcontractors under an express obligation of confidence, such as a confidentiality agreement?  Were the employees only allowed to store client information on company-issued mobile phones or had their client relationships become enmeshed in their social media?

However, what happens if there is a dispute and these client lists are attached to an Affidavit, putting them into the public domain and into the hands of a competitor?  A recent decision of the New South Wales Court of Appeal demonstrates that simply attaching the client details to an Affidavit is […]