Citizens Advice Breach Of UK GDPR – Could I Claim Compensation?

Citizens Advice Breach Of UK GDPR - Could I Claim Compensation?

Citizens Advice Breach Of UK GDPR – Could I Claim Compensation?

This guide is here to provide you with information should a Citizens Advice data breach ever occur. Throughout this guide, we shall explore what is meant by a personal data breach, looking at the legislation that is in place to protect the personal data of UK residents and the criteria for claiming compensation should such information be involved in a breach.

If a data breach occurs, this does not automatically qualify you to make a personal data breach claim. If a data controller, an organisation or company that says how and why your personal data shall be processed, fails in their obligation to adhere to data protection laws, then they could be liable should a data breach happen.

You can also learn about No Win No Fee agreements and how working with a solicitor from our panel could help get your claim started today. 

You can contact our advisors using the following information:

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Select A Section

  1. How Could A Citizens Advice Data Breach Happen?
  2. Could I Claim Compensation For A Potential Citizens Advice Data Breach?
  3. Do Data Breach Claims Go To Court?
  4. What Types Of Damages Could I Claim?
  5. Could I Claim Damages If A Citizens Advice Data Breach Occurs?
  6. Contact Us About Your Data Breach Claim

How Could A Citizens Advice Data Breach Happen?

A personal data breach involves a security incident leading to unlawful or accidental destruction, loss, alteration, disclosure or access to your personal information. This can occur through human error and deliberate criminal acts. For example, an administrator in your place of work may send your personal files to the wrong recipient. This can be due to a lack of training on how to handle personal data.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is an independent UK organisation that offers guidance on how to handle personal data in accordance with the law and instructs companies on how to prevent data breaches. They also have the ability to fine companies for not abiding by data protection laws.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are two key pieces of legislation designed to protect the personal data of UK residents. There are two main entities that will handle your personal data;

  • Data controllers are usually organisations that decide how and why to process your personal data
  • Data processors are separate organisations that work on behalf of the data controllers to process the data

Data controllers must have a lawful reason for processing personal data. In total, there are 6 lawful bases, and one is just consent. 

You can contact our advisors if you have questions should a Citizens Advice data breach occur and your personal data is affected. 

Data Breach Statistics 

If a data controller suffers a data breach that infringes on the rights of a data subject, apart from informing those involved, they must also report this to the ICO. The ICO compiles these reports into statistics and publishes data security trends each financial quarter. You can find more information on the ICO website.

Could I Claim Compensation For A Potential Citizens Advice Data Breach?

Before you can understand whether or not you could claim compensation for a personal data breach it is important to first understand how they can happen. Below we give examples of how your personal data could possibly be breached;

  • The data controller fails to train staff who have data access on the importance of being data-aware, therefore personal information is sent to the wrong email address or the wrong postal address. 
  • Verbally disclosing a client’s personal data with another colleague while in earshot of an unauthorised person.
  • Disposing of personal data incorrectly, allowing criminals the opportunity to steal them
  • Having poor cyber security defences which means hackers can gain online access to files containing personal data.

In order to claim personal data breach compensation, the onus will be on you to prove how the data controller or processor failed to abide by data protection laws. Then how this subsequently led to a breach of your personal information and supply evidence of the harm this caused. 

You can reach out at any time as our advisors are available 24/7 to answer your queries you might have should a Citizens Advice data breach occur. 

Do Data Breach Claims Go To Court?

When seeking a settlement for a breach of your personal data, the court will expect you to try to settle the claim before they have to step in. On the whole, most personal data breach claims will be settled before it goes as far as having your case heard in court. 

Usually, when a data controller or processor becomes aware of the breach, if it affects your rights and freedoms, they must inform you as soon as possible or without undue delay that your data is at risk. You can write to them then and ask what data has been breached and what they intend to do to rectify the situation. 

However, if you yourself suspect a breach of your personal information has taken place, then you can write to the organisation you feel may be at fault, asking for the information you require. Should their response not be to your satisfaction or they fail to respond, you can escalate the complaint internally or ask the ICO to investigate.

Any correspondence or investigation can be used as part of the evidence should you go on to make a claim.

The ICO offers guidance on taking your case to court. To start the claims process, you can reach out to our advisors. 

What Types Of Damages Could I Claim?

The Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc [2015] Court of Appeal case changed the way you can claim damages. Beforehand, you had to suffer material damage in order to claim for non-material damage. However, the ruling in the case now means you can claim for each damage independently. 

In data breach claims, you can seek the following damages:

  • Material damage: financial loss as a result of the data breach. This includes any monetary losses through your credit and debit cards and the impact the breach causes on your credit score.
  • Non-material damage: psychological injury due to the effects the data breach caused on your life. For example, stress, anxiety disorder, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you need advice on what steps might be appropriate to take if a Citizens Advice data breach did ever occur, call our advice line day or night for free legal advice.

Could I Claim Damages If A Citizens Advice Data Breach Occurs?

As we have discussed above, in order to make a successful claim following the breach of your personal data, your case must meet the requirements set out in Article 82 of the UK GDPR.

Should your personal data breach claim be successful, then you could claim material and non-material damage.

We’ve included a table below highlighting some compensation brackets listed in the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG).  The JCG is used by solicitors to assist them in valuing injuries and illnesses. 

Psychological Injury Compensation Notes
Severe PTSD (a) £59,860 – £100,670 Permanent effects prevent the injured person from working with all aspects of life poorly affected.
Moderately Severe PTSD (b) £23,150 – £59,860 Significant disability progresses for the foreseeable future, but there is a chance of a better prognosis with professional help.
Moderate PTSD (c) £8,180 – £23,150 Any continuing effects aren’t wholly disabling.
Less Severe PTSD (d) £3,950 – £8,180 Only minor symptoms persist after the injured person makes a recovery.
Severe Psychiatric Damage (a) £54,830 – £115,730 The injured person suffers from future vulnerability and struggles to cope with work, education and life.
Moderately Severe Psychiatric Damage (b) £19,070 – £54,830 The prognosis is more optimistic, but issues are still significant.
Moderate Psychiatric Damage (c) £5,860 – £19,070 Problems include effects on relationships with family, friends and all other contacts, but there are signs of improvement.
Less Severe Psychiatric Damage (d) £1,540 – £5,860 Cases are awarded based on how daily life is affected.

Please note that the compensation brackets above are not definite. You can contact our advisors for a more accurate calculation of what your data breach claim is worth.

Contact Us About Your Data Breach Claim

We have a panel of solicitors that work on a No Win No Fee basis. Very often, a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) is used. The benefits of working with a solicitor under a CFA include:

  • Legal representation
  • No upfront costs
  • No solicitor fees for the duration of your claim
  • No solicitor fees to pay if your claim is unsuccessful

If you’re successful in gaining a settlement, your solicitor will require a success fee. This is taken from your settlement at a legally capped rate. Your solicitor will discuss all of these terms with you before you agree to start a claim.

Contact our advisors today to learn more about No Win No Fee agreements. We can also connect you with a solicitor if we believe your claim has a chance of succeeding. 

Learn More About Claims Against Organisations

For further information, see the following external links:

You can also see more of our guides here:

If you have questions should a Citizens Advice data breach occur, please don’t hesitate to get in touch?