Q&As

What damages are recoverable for stress and inconvenience resulting from a breach of personal data and what test will be applied when assessing these?

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Produced in partnership with Ashley Roughton of Ipchambers.eu
Published on LexisPSL on 10/12/2015

The following IP Q&A produced in partnership with Ashley Roughton of Ipchambers.eu provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • What damages are recoverable for stress and inconvenience resulting from a breach of personal data and what test will be applied when assessing these?

A breach of personal data can arise in two ways: (1) a breach of a free standing right of privacy (which used to be known as misuse of confidential information) and (2) a breach of the rules concerning data protection.

In some senses the distinction does not matter as both stem from breach of the right of privacy enshrined in art 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. However, in the first case damages for stress and inconvenience are simply not available under current UK law. In relation to the second class there is now no or little doubt that such damages are claimable as a matter of principle; see Google v Vidal-Hall. However the appropriate practical means whereby the level of damages are to be calculated has yet to be set. Although such damages are 'European' in nature since they stem from a Directive, the question of the calculation of the level of damage is often regarded as procedural and as such it is likely that each Member State will be given considerable freedom as

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