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‘We’ve seen a shift towards people deciding against confidentiality in complaints’

One director discusses confidentiality in non-disclosure agreements and how they impact justice. 

user iconJess Feyder 16 March 2023 Big Law
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Recently on The Lawyers Weekly Show, host Jerome Doraisamy was joined by Noor Blumer, director at Blumers Personal Injury Lawyers, where they discussed the harms of confidentiality in certain cases and how they impact justice. 

A lot of settlements in the past have led to parties being gagged, explained Ms Blumer, people used to think it was of benefit to the plaintiff, or the victim, particularly in sexual abuse cases. But usually, it was to protect the person who was accused.

The way it works is that both parties agree “nobody admits to anything, and we are not going to speak of it”, and if you talk about it, you have to pay back the sum of the settlement, said Ms Blumer.


“It’s like a commercial agreement,” she explained.  

“What happened particularly in the church abuse cases and institutional abuse cases, a lot of cases were settled.

“But because they were settled confidentially, members of the public weren’t aware of it, and often the perpetrators went on to continue to commit other offences, either at the same place or at other places.

“There were a lot of suspect priests who had just moved to a different place, and they were at it again — the fact that they were at it again is really, really important.

“That’s driving a lot of people now to go, ‘I’d like to be protected from this, but at the same time, I don’t want them to be protected’.”

Ms Blumer noted that in the past, she would have clients that would say they didn’t want to have their name on it, but more recently, people are more inclined to say, “We’ll front up to this because it’s really important, and we don’t want it to happen to someone else.”

“That’s been the change in environment in the last few years,” she noted. 

“We’ve seen that whole movement now where people are prepared to not only make a complaint but actually to put their name to it.

“Having said that, sexual abuse case, there’s still only a very small percentage of people that actually either bringing civil or criminal proceeding,” Ms Blumer stated.

“They just don’t want to go through it. It’s too hard.”

“I’m a big advocate of it myself,” Ms Blumer maintained.

“I experienced something, which I’ve mentioned before in 2012 regarding the former High Court justice Dyson Heydon, and I didn’t know at the time whether this was a one-off or not, and so I kept it secret.

“I was willing to speak out, but I didn’t have to, and wasn’t asked to until those High Court associates were prepared to make a complaint, and it was being formally dealt with. 

“When I found out afterwards how many other people had complained about his behaviour, I felt really quite bad that I hadn’t come out earlier.

“Even though my complaint was certainly not on the high end, you do get encouraged if other people come out. It does help. And it really helped in that particular case that so many people did come out,” she added.