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Will GDPR result in an increase in data protection based legal actions?

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Now that GDPR – the new, European-wide General Data Protection Regulation – has come into effect from 25th May 2018, observers in the UK legal profession are anticipating an increase in data protection based legal actions, with group / class actions being increasingly likely. Group actions, whereby a group or collective of claimants come together and are represented legally by a member of that group (usually a lawyer, solicitor or law fim), aren’t particularly common in the UK but changes to the Civil Procedure Rules (‘CPR’) back in 1999do allow such actions.


In the wake of recent, well publicised data breaches involving often systemic data misuse by large corporations, combined with clauses in the GDPR that allows an individual whose data has been used illegally that allows an individual to seek financial compensation, it is expected that citizens will be far more aware of their rights and their ability to bring compensation claims.

QC Ben Williams, of 4 New Sqaure chambers, has said that:

Not only is misuse of private information a hot topic both in the press and the legal world, but group and representative claims are being successfully pursued through the courts and aspects of the GDPR will prompt further communal action…Such infringements are likely to affect a mass of individuals, be well-publicised, share common issues, and be prohibitively expensive for any individual to prosecute. They have all the necessary ingredients for group actions”

As well as allowing the right for individuals to pursue compensation claims for data misuse, GDPR actually encourages such actions, in a way that is similar to group actions that are already run under competition law. Indeed, there are already GDPR related cases in the pipeline, and the Court of Appeal has already decided that damages can be awarded in a group action being bought against internet giants Google for misuse of private information without proper consent.

Whilst discussing GDPR’s self-notification (to the regulator) demands on data users, Williams added:

These self-reporting obligations should lead to: potential claimants being informed of data breaches (whereas the past they might have been kept in the dark) and many potential claimants being informed of the breach at roughly the same time, leading to communal action”

The team here at Advantage Litigation are very familiar with the law in this area and, if you feel that you may have grounds to make a cliam for compensation, can provide advice on all aspects of the claim process for you. Click here to contact us today or call us on 0800 160 1298.

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