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The Nairobi Code: CONFIDENTIALITY

Model Rules of Ethics for Legal Advisors in Refugee Cases

6 CONFIDENTIALITY

6.1 Clients and prospective clients are entitled to confidentiality of the information obtained from them or others by their advisors. The confidentiality privilege is owned by the client, not by the advisor. Except as provided for in these rules, confidentiality may be waived only with a client’s explicit consent.

6.2 An advisor shall protect the confidentiality of all information that is gathered regarding a client’s affairs, except as specifically provided for in these rules. Advisors shall maintain files and records in a manner designed to protect their clients’ confidentiality. The duty to maintain client confidence continues beyond the termination of the advisor client relationship unless otherwise provided in these rules.

6.3 Confidentiality shall not apply to information that has entered the public domain with the client’s consent. When a client voluntarily allows a piece of information to enter the public domain, the client will be presumed to have waived confidentiality on that piece of information. However, advisors may not reveal information that has entered the public domain against the wishes of the client, or without the client’s consent.

6.4 An advisor may reveal confidential information about a client to other legal advisors for the purpose of professional consultations, so long as the other advisors will be bound by the same duty of confidentiality and so long as the other advisors do not have a conflict of interest as described in Rule 5.

6.5 Where an advisor believes a client is likely to inflict bodily harm on another person in the imminent future, the advisor must take prompt steps to inform the appropriate authorities, and may reveal that amount of confidential client information which is necessary to prevent bodily injury.

6.6 An advisor may reveal confidential client information as minimally necessary to defend him or herself from any formal accusation of breach of these ethical rules.

6.7 A legal advisor or organization employing a legal advisor may use information collected from clients’ cases in publications and writings without the consent of affected clients only if the publication is sanitized of any unique details that would allow an interested person to identify the person involved.

6.8 A legal advisor or an organization providing legal services must train all staff and support personnel on their responsibility to maintain client confidential information and ensure that client confidences are maintained.

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