21 November 2022

Blast from the Past


Tournier v. National Provincial and Union Bank of England

Banks’ implied duty of secrecy to its customers

The United Kingdom Court of Appeal in 1923 determined that the duty of confidentiality owed by a bank to its clients was not absolute. Rather, it was qualified by four caveats: disclosure compelled by law; public duty to disclose; interests of bank require disclosure; disclosure is made with express or implied consent of customer. The matter arose after the Defendant learned of Plaintiff using his income for purposes other than paying off the debt owed to it. Pursuant to enquiries by Defendant, certain information regarding Plaintiff’s account was divulged to other parties. Though the Court expressed qualifications to confidentiality, it nonetheless was unequivocal that “it is an implied term of a banker’s contract with his customer that the banker shall not disclose the account, transactions relating”. The Court ordered trial afresh, with the jury made aware of the legal duties of the bank.

Tags : Banker duty to confidentiality qualifications

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