The council has asked me to share a client’s personal data. What should I do?

The local council has asked me to divulge the name and previous address of a client I acted for in a property purchase. The council referred to the Council Tax Regulations 1992 and Data Protection Act 2018 exemptions, which permit disclosure of personal data where required to assess tax or prevent or detect crime. How should I respond?

Regulations 3 and 4 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 impose obligations on a “resident, owner or managing agent of a particular dwelling” and on certain public authorities, to supply certain information to a billing authority.

Unless you fall under one of these categories, the regulations are unlikely to apply to you.

In any event, any information you hold is likely to be protected by your duty of confidentiality to your client.

The exemption under Schedule 11 (2) of the Data Protection Act 2018 does not displace your professional duty of confidentiality.

The general advice is if you are approached by a law enforcement agency for information about a client or transaction they are investigating, you must ask if you can either:

  • seek the client's consent to provide the information, or
  • be served with a notice or production order requiring disclosure

For further information, see our practice note on responding to a financial crime investigation.


While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in this article, it does not constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon as such. The Law Society does not accept any responsibility for liabilities arising as a result of reliance upon the information given.

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