Confidential information

I have received an unsolicited email from somebody providing highly prejudicial and credible information about a client. The email has also been sent to the hospital and to an MP. The writer has not requested that the information be kept confidential but does express concerns about the dangers posed by my client.
What do I do with this information? Do I disclose it to my client in full without reference to the writer? Do I reply to the writer informing her that I am about to disclose it? There are no current tribunal proceedings so I cannot refer to the tribunal.
Any thoughts gratefully received.

I would imagine the writer has no other means of raising risk concerns - particularly if they are not in the Victim Contact Scheme or unaware that they can raise such concerns through the VLO.

I suggest writing to the writer and asking them what they would like you to do with the information.

Are they related to the offender?


Thank you Jools.
The writer has, of course, raised their concerns through the hospital.
My starting point is the primary duty is to my client but clearly I have a general duty of care towards the writer if there are serious concerns about potential harm to them. As my client is detained that could only be psychological harm at this stage.
It is that balance which I am struggling with but also whether I owe any duty of confidentiality to the writer in the context of an unsolicited email.

I don’t think you owe anything to the email writer beyond what you have in mind anyway, paragraph 6.4 of the SRA Code of Conduct, which includes: “Where you are acting for a client on a matter, you make the client aware of all information material to the matter of which you have knowledge, except when: … you have reason to believe that serious physical or mental injury will be caused to your client or another if the information is disclosed; …” The hospital has received the same information so I don’t think anybody would complain about you obtaining the RC’s view to help you decide.

There’s a page on MHLO with some links (Ethical and other conduct guidance for lawyers) but it doesn’t directly answer your question.

If the email has been sent to the hospital then I would have absolutely no concern about making the client aware of it although would out of courtesy let the hospital know that I planned to do so and provide them with a date when I intended to provide the information.

I might have a different view if it was just sent to me and not copied the hospital/MP however.

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Thank you for those thoughtful replies which are very helpful. I will try to speak to the clinical team before disclosing the information to my client.

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The conclusion to this was that I spoke to the clinical team who asked me to disclose the information to the client. I did this and then received a furious email from the writer. Also my client transferred to other solicitors- so not a very satisfactory outcome but not much else I could have done under the circumstances!