Confidentiality agreements


Many businesses are successful because no-one else can do what they do.

In order to ensure this remains the case, it is common for them to require their employees to sign confidentiality agreements. These may be included as part of the contract of employment itself, or they may be a separate document.

Sometimes it is necessary for companies to protect their secrets from disclosure by outsiders. In these cases they may ask that a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) is granted before revealing their confidential information.

Operation and structure

Most confidentiality agreements present the same information and are similarly structured. There are two types of confidentiality agreements:

  • A mutual confidentiality agreement would be used if you want all parties bound by confidentiality
  • Unilateral confidentiality agreements are used if only the receiving party must maintain secrecy

Regardless of the type of agreement both parties should ensure they are happy with the terms it contains as they are bound by them.

Precisely specifying the information that needs to be protected and the treatment of the information are probably the most important clauses, and a balance must be struck between legal protection and the ease of getting the agreement signed by the other party.

Naturally, the more one-sided an agreement is, the more difficulty there will be to get the other side to sign. As a rule, the agreement should be drafted as narrowly as possible, in order to prevent compliance becoming too onerous.

Breach of confidentiality

Most confidentiality agreements and NDAs are never breached. However, if they are, the business concerned must consider whether to take action. This will usually depend upon the nature of the breach, what damage has been caused, and whether the person who made the disclosure is worth pursuing.

A commercial solicitor will usually be asked to recommend a course of action.

There are some cases in which confidentiality may be breached despite the existence of an agreement. Whistleblowers are protected by law and it is not possible to prevent evidence of illegal activity being disclosed.

Even attempting to prevent such disclosure can be damaging to the reputation of a business, and the correct course of action is always to resolve the illegality as quickly as possible. Legal advice will be crucial under these circumstances.

Confidentiality agreements are legally binding documents and should be drafted on a case-by-case basis by a specialist solicitor. If your business is considering entering into one, call us to speak to one of our advisors.

If you are not sure whether a confidentiality agreement is appropriate in your case, you can learn about other forms of protection on our intellectual property pages.

If you would like to obtain legal advice on confidentiality agreements then we can put you in touch with a local contracts solicitor free of charge. If you have any questions or would like our help in finding local contracts solicitors please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

0800 1777 162
or fill in the form
Our trained advisor contacts you
Your chosen specialist solicitor calls you
Quick enquiry form
Area of law:
What our clients say about us
"This was the first time I've been to court, which was a nerve-racking experience for me. However, I felt very prepared, I understood my case and representation - this was down to you."
Gavin, criminal motoring, Oct 15
"Your service, and the prompt call back from your recommended firm was very good. I would not hesitate to call again or recommend your service."
Ian, employment law, Truro, July 15
"The firm were excellent, could not have been better! They are exactly what I need right now."
Linda, criminal defence, Thames Ditton, Jul 15
"Your contact and service was immediate and utmost professional, 10/10."
TF, conveyancing, Dudley, Jun 15
"I appreciate the service that you provide. I found you to be courteous, efficient and reassuring at a time when my confidence in justice is completely negative."
Patrick, litigation, Pontypridd, Jun 15
"I cannot tell you how much I appreciate the speed of which you came back to me in. If anyone else can benefit from your help like I have done, it would make my day."
Gail M, family law, Potters Bar, Jun 15
"Your assistance was extremely helpful. Particularly to someone who in 40 years of business has never experienced this sort of issue."
TD, commercial litigation, Galashiels, Apr 15
"It is difficult to express the value Contact Law has to someone like me who had very little understanding of the law and how to proceed forward with my case. Thank you for the service you provided."
AE, defamation law, Worthing, Apr 15
"Thank you for the efficient service I received. I was contacted by your solicitor on the same day as my request. Your quick response to my situation made me feel secure."
AN, employment law, London, Apr 15
"Your service was excellent, very fast and informative. I never got the impression of being pressurised at all. The solicitor you recommended was also excellent – very knowledgeable and supportive."
JHD, Motoring law, Liverpool, Apr 15
Contact Law supports the endeavours of STAE and commends all the work they are undertaking to assist in the plight of the Asian Elephant


We use cookies on the Contact Law site to help us improve it.

If you would like to allow our cookies, please click 'Continue' or carry on browsing. For more information on cookies and how to change your settings, click 'More info'.