NZ: Legal firm divulges private files

Phil Kitchin reports:

A lawyer’s practice used clients’ sensitive files as recycling paper for photocopying – and posted out hundreds of pages of private and confidential details about their cases.

The details, sent to a former client who requested a copy of her own file, include names and addresses of people involved in suppressed court cases.

They include graphic allegations of sexual abuse, domestic violence and Child, Youth and Family matters.


The woman decided to go public when [barrister Rachael] Adams did not agree to her requests for an assurance that she would contact all clients whose privacy had been breached, and that her own information had not been sent to other clients.

Read more on Stuff.

A Google search shows Adams’ business is Adams Law in Tauranga.

Not only is this case a good reminder of the risks involving paper, but it is also a reminder that your breach response needs to be effective. Had Adams immediately offered to come retrieve the improperly disclosed files, and had she agreed to notify those whose private information was improperly disclosed, would we be seeing her name and picture in headlines? Maybe, but possibly not.

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