Attorney General v Blake
Attorney General v Blake  UKHL 45 is a leading English contract law case on damages for breach of contract. It established that in some circumstances where ordinary remedies are inadequate, restitutionary damages may be awarded.
George Blake was a former member of the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) from 1944 to 1961. For his employment contract he had signed an Official Secrets Act 1911 declaration to disclose no information about his work. It applied after his employment ceased. In 1951 he became a Soviet agent, thus being a double agent. The British government imprisoned him in Wormwood Scrubs (HM Prison). He escaped and fled to the Soviet Union. He wrote a book about it and his secret services work called No Other Choice. He got a publishing contract for release in 1989 with Jonathan Cape Ltd. The information in the book was no longer confidential. Blake received advanced payments and was entitled to more. The Crown brought an action for all the profits he made on the book including those that he had not yet received. It argued a restitutionary principle should apply.
Lord Nicholls, Lord Goff of Chieveley, Lord Browne-Wilkinson and Lord Steyn held that in exceptional cases, when the normal remedy is inadequate to compensate for breach of contract, the court can order the defendant to account for all profits. This was an exceptional case. Blake had harmed the public interest. Publication was a further breach of his undertaking of confidentiality. Disclosure of non-confidential information was also a criminal offence under the Official Secrets Act 1911. An absolute rule against disclosure was necessary to ensure that the secret service was able to deal in complete confidence. It was in the Crown’s legitimate interest to ensure Blake did not benefit from revealing state information. The normal contractual remedies of damages, specific performance or injunction were not enough, and the publishers...