VIC Potential Privacy Breach by Opposing Law Firm?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


23 July 2015
So I'll set the scene: I took out an intervention order (IVO) against an individual, and long story short, was awarded damages from the individual in a concurrent case (out of court settlement) on the proviso that I dropped the IVO against the individual.

I wont get into the details of the IVO as I had already planned on dropping it, due to plans to move houses, but maintained that I wished not to be contacted. The money was transferred into a trust account set up by the opposing law firm, but they insisted upon holding the money until the IVO was formally dropped in the Magistrates Court.

In a little over a week the IVO is to be dropped, I was however allowed access to some of the money to pay for the bond etc. for the property I very recently moved into. On Monday and Wednesday, I received letters in the mail from the individual, and a relative of theirs - I believe the content is irrelevant here.

I have spoken to my lawyer and we both agree that the only way they could have found out my new address is via the opposing law firm whom paid the real estate agents directly. I am 100% sure that there is no other way that they could have found out where I live.

This may seem a little convoluted, but it's because I don't want to be too identifying in what I have written. The major issue here is the serious breach of my privacy. Is there anything I can do about it beyond moving again?

Sarah J

Well-Known Member
16 July 2014
Melbourne, Victoria
Hi EugineR,

The lawyer for the opposing side has a duty to disclose information relevant to their client. They act in the best interests of their own client as long as it does not break the law and intervene with their other duties. Unfortunately, they owe no fiduciary duty to you.

Did you have an agreement/contract in place, as a condition of the settlement, that the individual not contact you again? If so, did it specify which forms of contact are restricted? Did this individual contact you directly or through their lawyer or middle man?

You may have a breach of the settlement agreement and if so, you can sue for damages. However, there is no right to privacy in Australia. There are a number of laws (legislation and general law) that prevent information from being disclosed in limited circumstances by limited people, however, you may not have a breach of privacy here. If you want something more severe than a private agreement between you and the individual for the individual not to contact you, you unfortunately will need to take out an restrictive order (IVO). There is no good substitute for having one if you believe you are in danger etc.

Do not give your address out easily. There are ways to avoid handing out your personal information to the other side. If the opposing lawyer needs to contact you, they can contact your lawyer (they should not be directly conversing with you anyway). If you need them to release funds, you can ask them to direct the cheque to your lawyer's firm or release the money to you without you needing to give out your new address.

You should be speaking to your lawyer about this as they know your case the most. What does your lawyer recommend?