relationship. The nature of the association between two or more people; esp., a legally

recognized association that makes a difference in the participants’ legal rights and duties of care.

attorney–client relationship.The formal legal representation of a person by a lawyer. • An

attorney–client relationship may be found, for disciplinary purposes, without any formal


confidential relationship. 1. See fiduciary relationship. 2.Trade secrets. A relationship in

which one person has a duty to the other not to disclose proprietary information. • A confidential

relationship can be expressly established, as by the terms of an employment contract. It can also

be implied when one person knows or should know that the information is confidential, and the

other person reasonably believes that the first person has consented to keep the information

confidential. A confidential relationship might be implied, for instance, between two people

negotiating the sale of a business.

doctor–patient relationship.The association between a medical provider and one who is being

diagnosed or treated. • The relationship imposes a duty on the doctor to ensure that the patient

gives informed consent for treatment.

employer–employee relationship.The association between a person employed to perform

services in the affairs of another, who in turn has the right to control the person’s physical conduct

in the course of that service. • At common law, the relationship was termed “master-servant.” That

term is still used often, but “employer–employee” dominates in modern legal usage.

fiducial relationship.See trust relationship.

fiduciary relationship.A relationship in which one person is under a duty to act for the benefit

of another on matters within the scope of the relationship. • Fiduciary relationships — such as

trustee–beneficiary, guardian–ward, principal–agent, and attorney–client — require an unusually

high degree of care. Fiduciary relationships usu. arise in one of four situations: (1) when one

person places trust in the faithful integrity of another, who as a result gains superiority or influence

over the first, (2) when one person assumes control and responsibility over another, (3) when one

person has a duty to act for or give advice to another on matters falling within the scope of the

relationship, or (4) when there is a specific relationship that has traditionally been recognized as

involving fiduciary duties, as with a lawyer and a client or a stockbroker and a customer. — Also

termed fiduciary relation; confidential relationship. Cf. special relationship

master–servant relationship.The association between one in authority and a subordinate, esp.

between an employer and an employee. • At common law, this term also designated the

husband–wife relationship for purposes of analyzing loss of consortium, but that usage is now

obsolete. — Also termed employer–employee relationship. See MASTER AND SERVANT.

parent–child relationship.The association between an adult and a minor in the adult’s care,

esp. an offspring or an adoptee. • The relationship imposes a high duty of care on the adult,

including the duties to support, to rescue, to supervise and control, and to educate.

professional relationship.An association that involves one person’s reliance on the other

person’s specialized training. • Examples include one’s relationship with a lawyer, doctor, insurer,

banker, and the like.

special relationship.A nonfiduciary relationship having an element of trust, arising esp. when

one person trusts another to exercise a reasonable degree of care and the other knows or ought to

know about the reliance. Cf. fiduciary relationship. [Cases: Master and Servant 30(1.15); Torts

  1. C.J.S. Employer–Employee Relationship § 60; Torts §§ 54, 59–65.]

trust relationship.An association based on one person’s reliance on the other person’s

specialized training. — Also termed fiducial relationship. [Blacks Law 8th]