While it`s not always true that today`s confidential information is tomorrow`s bullet paper (to get a set), most commercially sensitive information has a limited amount of time during which it is truly confidential. In this case, the information may be disclosed not only in the course of a dispute, but also in accordance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Otherwise, a form of confidentiality ring is usually put in place when legal proceedings are initiated. When considering the search for a privacy network for the protection of your confidential information, the following questions should be raised: in a recent High Court decision regarding a request for the discovery of documents, the Tribunal issued an order for disclosure, subject to a confidentiality ring. Since the case of Roche Diagnostics Limited against The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, the court generally expects contracting authorities to disclose their assessment documents at an early stage. This has also been formalized in the TCC guide. Some evaluation documents do disclose the content of third-party offers, so it is increasingly common for a privacy network to be set up before a dispute to deal with this confidential information. A proposal that one of your competitors can see your confidential information is never well received by successful bidders. Fraser J, however, made it very clear in SRCL v. The National Health Service Commissioning Board that such a representative should be in the circle of confidentiality and that if a person`s identity cannot be agreed, the case should be taken to court. In Goode Concrete, the court pointed out that the proceedings were about competition law and found that in such proceedings, confidentiality rings will become standard practice in Britain, “due to the increased cost of discovery and the way in which discovery in such proceedings tends to be used as a commercial weapon”. A privacy “ring” or “club” means a group of designated persons authorized by a court to access certain confidential documents disclosed at the time of discovery and who are deprived of one or more of the parties to the dispute.
The Irish courts are open to the injunction of confidentiality rings at the preliminary stage of the proceedings, if this is deemed necessary as regards the nature of the case. The aim is to prevent confidential trade secrets from being disclosed to a competitor by documents that cannot be invoked in court. Helen Prandy explains the most important thinking when privacy rings are used in procurement cases. This is a welcome decision and underlines that Irish courts are willing to consider, in certain circumstances, the use of privacy rings to protect economically sensitive information. As a rule, court decisions relating to confidentiality rings are made with respect to the investigation process itself and not the trial. In practice, this means that some economically sensitive documents are only made available to the lawyers and/or experts of one party, and not to the party itself. Privacy rings can provide a way around this issue. This mechanism has been observed in the United Kingdom in cases of infringement of intellectual property, infringement of competition law or challenge to public procurement, in which the conditions of competing tenders may be essential. . . .