Frisbee v Campbell: CA 14 Oct 2002

The claimant sought an account against her former employee for the disclosures made by her of their activities. The respondent had signed a confidentiality agreement. The respondent counterclaimed for assault. She now appealed from dismissal of her appeal against the summary judgment entered against her, arguing that the judge was wrong to dismiss her case as unarguable, since the contract was repudiated by the claimant’s own violent and other misconduct. The claimant argued that a confidentiality clause within an employment context survived any repudiation, and no public policy applied to justify the disclosure.
Held: Whilst the defendant might not expect to succeed, it could not be said that her case was unarguable and the case was not appropriate for summary judgement. The existence of the Press Code engaged the defendants rights of free expression. Those rights were not absolute, and were to be seen with a balance including also the claimant’s privacy rights. Whilst the defendant was not to be encouraged to persist, the case was not so unarguable as to be properly dismissed in a summary procedure: ‘We consider that it is arguable that a duty of confidentiality that has been expressly assumed under contract carries more weight, when balanced against the right of freedom of expression, that a duty of confidence than is not buttressed by express agreement’


Lord Justice Keene, Lord Justice Chadwick, Lord Phillips MR


[2002] EWCA Civ 1374, [2003] ICR 141




England and Wales


CitedGeneral Billposting Company Limited v Atkinson HL 1908
The employers had dismissed their employee manager ‘in deliberate disregard of the terms of the contract’ in such a way as ‘to evince an intention no longer to be bound by the contract.’ The manager had successfully brought an action for wrongful . .
Appeal fromCampbell v Frisbee ChD 14-Mar-2002
The defendant appealed a summary judgement on the claimant’s claim with respect to her alleged disclosure of details Miss Campbell’s private life. The claimant sought an action for account of profits for breach of the terms of a contract of service. . .

Cited by:

CitedMcKennitt and others v Ash and Another QBD 21-Dec-2005
The claimant sought to restrain publication by the defendant of a book recounting very personal events in her life. She claimed privacy and a right of confidence. The defendant argued that there was a public interest in the disclosures.
Held: . .
CitedAssociated Newspapers Ltd v Prince of Wales CA 21-Dec-2006
The defendant newspaper appealed summary judgment against it for breach of confidence and copyright infringement having published the claimant’s journals which he said were private.
Held: Upheld, although the judge had given insufficient . .
CitedCaterpillar Logistics Services (UK) Ltd v Huesca De Crean QBD 2-Dec-2011
The claimant sought an order to prevent the defendant, a former employee, from misusing its confidential information said to be held by her. Her contract contained no post employment restrictions but did seek to control confidential and other . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Media, Employment, Intellectual Property, Human Rights

Updated: 06 June 2022; Ref: scu.177804