You have the legal right to have your personal information, held by any public or private organisation, kept safe and secure. Many people think that data protection claims can only be made against private bodies such as an online retailer or airline, after a data hack. However, this is not the case. Public bodies including the NHS and the police also have the legal obligation to keep your private information and sensitive data safe.
The law on data protection
The Data Protection Act 1998 (now replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation and the Data Protection Act 2018) sets out provisions and requirements on processing the personal data of individuals.
Those that control your personal data must:
- Process the data fairly and lawfully;
- Have appropriate technical and organisational measures to protect the data they collect to prevent unlawful processing;
- Use the data for specified and explicit purposes that is relevant and limited to only what is necessary
- Ensure that the information is accurate and kept up to date (where necessary)
- Obtain consent for its collection and disclosure where required
Data Protection Breach Case Study – HNK’s recent work
HNK’s expert data protection solicitors recently handled a claim made against Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (the Defendant) for a breach of data protection. The breach occurred when on 18th March 2016, an email request was made on behalf of the Chief Constable of Staffordshire Police (“CCSP”) to Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (“the Defendant”) for information relating to our client, the claimant’s (“K’s”) mental health.
On 23rd March 2016, the Defendant’s employees complied with the request and disclosed K’s personal data to CCSP without his consent. The information disclosed was his sensitive and personal medical data.
Making the data protection claim
In October 2018, K approached Higgs Newton Kenyon Solicitors to act on his behalf in the matter. We were happy to accept instructions on a No-Win No-Fee agreement.
HNK had concerns that the Defendant’s employees breached the Data Protection Act 1998 (“DPA 1998”) by providing his personal data to CCSP, without K’s consent. HNK claimed that the Defendant processed the data in a manner incompatible with the intended purpose and disclosed his personal data to CCPS without his written consent.
An individual’s personal data should always, be used for a specified purpose and limited to what it is collated for. Before the disclosure of the data is given to third parties, the individual’s consent must be obtained.
On 3rd January 2019, the Defendant admitted to a breach of duty and made an offer in the sum of £1,000. This was not accepted by the Claimant and a counteroffer was made on his behalf. The Defendant was reluctant to make/accept a satisfactory offer to the Claimant, so HNK issued court proceedings on his behalf.
Before the matter proceeded to trial and following detailed submissions by HNK, on why the Defendant had breached K’s data protection and the adverse effects this had on the Claimant, the Defendant made a much-improved offer of £20,500 for damages and legal costs.
HNK advised this was a much more satisfactory offer given the circumstances, as this kind of breach of personal and sensitive information can cause extreme emotional distress. K was happy to accept this offer and the case was settled.
HNK Solicitors can help you make a data protection breach claim
HNK Solicitors specialise in pursuing claims for data protection breaches. Over the years we have successfully obtained hundreds of thousands of pounds compensation for our clients who have suffered a data protection breach. We understand that having your private information taken or shared without your consent can be troubling, and lead to financial and emotional suffering. Claiming compensation can help towards getting your life back on track.
If your data has been misused or disclosed without your consent, and you have suffered financial loss or distress as a result, then you could be entitled to claim compensation. To find out more about pursuing a claim for a data protection breach, visit out Data Protection Claims page. Alternatively, call us on 0151 203 1104 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.