Queensland Law Society


9. Confidentiality

9.1 A solicitor must not disclose any information which is confidential to a client and acquired by the solicitor during the client’s engagement to any person who is not: 

9.1.1 a solicitor who is a partner, principal, director, or employee of the solicitor’s law practice; or 

9.1.2 a barrister or an employee of, or person otherwise engaged by, the solicitor’s law practice or by an associated entity for the purposes of delivering or administering legal services in relation to the client, EXCEPT as permitted in Rule 9.2

9.2 A solicitor may disclose confidential client information if: 

9.2.1 the client expressly or impliedly authorises disclosure; 

9.2.2 the solicitor is permitted or is compelled by law to disclose; 

9.2.3 the solicitor discloses the information in a confidential setting, for the sole purpose of obtaining advice in connection with the solicitor’s legal or ethical obligations; 

9.2.4 the solicitor discloses the information for the sole purpose of avoiding the probable commission of a serious criminal offence; 

9.2.5 the solicitor discloses the information for the purpose of preventing imminent serious physical harm to the client or to another person; or 

9.2.6 the information is disclosed to the insurer of the solicitor, law practice or associated entity.

The essence of the relationship between a solicitor and client is one of trust and confidence. The obligation of confidentiality is implied in all engagements that exist between the solicitor and client. The resources below consider a number of the issues that will confront a solicitor daily on the question of the preservation of a client’s confidences. The material also examines the permitted exceptions to this important obligation.