RIP NDA? How Effective Are Non-Disclosure Agreements?

April 25, 2023

Over the past several years, the use of non-disclosure agreements (“NDAs”) has received significant public scrutiny following their controversial use in a number of high profile harassment claims.

NDAs were back in the headlines earlier this year following the leak to the Telegraph of around 100,000 Whatsapp messages belonging to the former Health Secretary Matt Hancock. The messages, which revealed Mr Hancock’s communications with other members of the government during the COVID-19 pandemic, were disclosed by a journalist who had access to the material through her work on Mr Hancock’s memoirs. The journalist’s actions reportedly breached the terms of an NDA that had been agreed between the parties.

NDAs play a critical role in many walks of commercial life and this article reviews their utility and some of the issues which can arise with their enforcement. Awareness of the risks of disclosure of information, even under a tightly drafted NDA, is essential to avoid being caught out, as perhaps Mr Hancock discovered.

Please click here to read the full alert memorandum.