n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Seeking access to the confidential records of a third party: the accused's right to a fair trial v the third party's right to privacy

Volume 42, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The article examines the question of how an accused's request for disclosure of confidential records of a third party impacts on the third party's right to privacy. Foreign jurisdictions such as the United States of America, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom are examined for guidance. This reveals that the accused's right to disclosure although important, is not absolute. It is submitted that an approach that seeks to balance competing interests namely, the accused's constitutional trial rights and the public interest in avoiding the conviction of an innocent party, while on the other hand respecting the right to privacy of third parties and the public interest to protect such confidences, may constitute an equitable and constitutional approach towards protecting both the accused's rights and the third party's right to privacy.

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