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Arun District Council Data Breach Claims

This guide explores what you could do after an Arun District Council data breach.

We look at when your claim may be valid and outline the steps you need to take to begin a claim against a council. As such, this guide will be a valuable resource for people trying to decide whether to attempt a data breach claim or not.

Data Breaches Affecting District Councils

Arun District Council data breach claims guide

Arun District Council data breach guide

Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for compensation. There would be some similarities to other data breach claims, but they will not be exactly the same. You may find, therefore, that you still have a question or two after reading this guide.

You can reach our claims team on 0800 073 8804 if you have any unanswered questions. Alternatively, you could use our live chat on this page.

Our advisors are always available and give free legal advice without any obligation for you to proceed with our services. However, if you have a strong claim, our advisors could connect you with our solicitors.

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A Guide Claiming For An Arun District Council Data Breach

Are you concerned about not knowing what to do after a potential Arun District Council data breach? This guide explores personal data breaches.

The guide begins with a few background facts. We’ve added a chart that provides a breakdown of different types of data breaches in central government. After that, you are given a short explanation as to why a local authority might be liable for a data breach. In addition, this part of the guide describes the types of data that should be protected. Laws that apply are also discussed in this section.

We will examine how the council should comply with UK data privacy laws in the following sections.

We also examine the procedures for reporting, filing complaints, and settling claims for data breaches by a local authority. In addition, we discuss the potential financial implications of data breaches.

Along with a compensation table, we have provided an overview of when you could claim damages for monetary loss and stress or other mental harm. No Win No Fee agreements are discussed with a specific focus on how the fee structure of these agreements works.

At the end of this guide, we give general advice about how to find a good lawyer. As a final step, we include a simple FAQ and links at the end of this guide.

Are There Time Limits For Claims?

You should promptly file a claim for a personal data breach in order for it to be made within the correct time limit. In addition, this deadline is dependent on the circumstances of the claim. For instance, the time limit could be:

  • A claim against a public body generally has a one-year deadline; or
  • Six years.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact our advisors. Our advisors will then let you know which deadline applies to your case.

What Is The Most Common Type Of Data Breach?

UK data privacy legislation is enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO also keeps a register of notifiable data breaches. This register is open for public inspection.

The following graph illustrates some of the common causes of central government data breaches based on some of the non-cyber data security incident trends the ICO has published for the first quarter of 2021-22.

Data Breaches In Government

What Is A Data Breach At Arun District Council?

All rules and regulations relating to data privacy and security should be followed by local authorities in the UK. Furthermore, you have the right to personal data privacy protection. It is imperative that both of these basic requirements are met in order to ensure the safety of your personal data.

A data breach is the unlawful loss, destruction, disclosure, alteration or access to personal information following a security breach. Sometimes they’re accidental and sometimes they’re deliberate.

The organisation or authority that has a responsibility to protect your personal information might not always be responsible for a data breach. However, if their security failings cause a data breach, it could eventually lead to a claim.

If you can demonstrate that the council’s positive wrongful conduct caused a data breach and that you suffered mental harm or financial loss as a result, you could claim. Our advisors can inform you about the possibility of filing a claim if you give them a call.

Rules And Laws That Will Apply

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is followed by the European Union (EU). It was enacted into UK law via the Data Protection Act 2018. The Act has now been altered and sits alongside the UK GDPR.

All applicable data protection laws should be followed by the council when storing and processing data about a data subject. (A data subject is someone whose personal information is used by an organisation.)

Types Of Protected Data

Not all of your information is covered under the UK GDPR. Only personal information is protected. Council data protection policies should be robust to keep this data safe at all times.

Personal information (or personal data) is information that can be used to identify you, whether on its own or in combination with other information. For example, an individual’s personal data includes their name, address, telephone number, email address, and financial information.

The term special category data refers to nine types of personal data. These are:

  1. Data concerning your health (such as health records)
  2. Your genetic data
  3. Your ethnic or racial background
  4. Religion or philosophical beliefs
  5. Your political opinions
  6. Biometric data (when used for identification purposes)
  7. Data about your sex life
  8. Data about your sexual orientation
  9. Your trade union membership details

If your personal or special category data has been compromised by your local council, do not hesitate to contact an advisor. 

This guide exploring what you could do after an Arun District Council data breach was created to provide useful information. However, if you’d like free legal advice, why not call?

Do District Councils Need To Comply With The GDPR?

A council’s status as a government entity does not exempt it from the UK data protection law. The council should comply with all rules and regulations in order to prevent a data breach.

Furthermore, the council should embrace the seven core principles of the UK GDPR. Those principles are:

  1. Keep personal data for a limited period of time.
  2. Protect and handle personal information in a secure and safe manner.
  3. Make sure that actions are transparent, legal, and fair.
  4. Be clear about why personal data is being processed.
  5. Be accountable for what you do with personal data.
  6. Update and maintain accurate data.
  7. Limit the amount of personal information that is stored about you.

It could be possible to claim compensation if the council causes a data breach, and your data is compromised. You can contact our claims team for further assistance.

Different Breaches In Data Protection Law

In compliance with the UK GDPR, councils have a legal obligation to collect and process personal information in a fully compliant manner. Most local authorities store and handle a lot of personal information.

The following factors can be considered a council data breach:

  • An email containing some of your personal data is received by someone who doesn’t have a lawful reason to access it.
  • You discover that a council employee has accessed your personal data, and then discussed it and identified you with an unauthorised third party outside of the workplace.
  • Physical records containing personal information are disposed of in a way that does not conform with regulatory requirements and are accessed by people who don’t have a lawful basis to see them.
  • There are cybersecurity vulnerabilities that are exploited by cybercriminals to access your personal data.

These examples can all be used to support a compensation claim. They can, however, only be used if the council is at fault and you suffer financial loss or psychological harm. If you call our claims advisors, we can assist you.

Social Work And Tenancy Data Protection

The amount of personal information a council collects about you can increase every time you pay rent to the council if you’re a tenant. If you used social services, you could also have a lot of personal information stored with the council.

Despite the council’s legal obligation to protect your personal data and information, sometimes errors happen. Potential dangers include:

  • Social services employees accessing personal information they are not authorised to see about you or your family.
  • Rent statements being accessed by an unauthorised party for an unlawful reason.
  • People working at the council share documents with landlords, but they do not redact your personal information where they’re supposed to.
  • Personal data being compromised in cyber security incidents.

We can easily understand how these incidents can lead to a claim. Nevertheless, liability should be proven against the council.

This guide aims to give you a basic understanding of what you could do if an Arun District Council data breach occurred. However, feel free to get in touch with our advisors if you have further questions.

How Do I Contact The Information Commissioner?

You can take a couple of steps before making a claim if you believe your personal data may have been compromised in a data breach. While these steps may be helpful, they are not always mandatory.

Your first point of contact should be the council’s data protection officer. The council may have more than one, and some councils may not have one at all, but they should have a relevant party to communicate with.

In the case of a potential data breach, you can ask a data protection officer how much data was compromised and what it entailed. If your personal data wasn’t compromised, you would likely not be able to claim.

The ICO may be notified as a second option if you experience a data breach, but filing a report with the ICO is not obligatory. The ICO may, however, take action against the council, potentially enhancing the credibility of your claim.

You should only contact the ICO about the council data breach within three months of the council’s last meaningful response to you. What’s more, you should only contact them if the council didn’t give a satisfactory response.

How Do I Sue A District Council After A Data Breach?

Whether or not you contacted the ICO about a council data breach, you could still make a claim. It is your right to make a valid claim against a council for financial loss or mental harm caused by their lax data protection.

Those who feel they have suffered stress, trauma, or other psychological harm as a result of a data breach may be eligible for compensation. Likewise, you may be entitled to claim any money you lost as a result of a data breach.

To make a claim you could:

  • Collect evidence of the breach, such as emails from the council confirming your personal information was involved in a data breach.
  • Collect evidence of financial losses (bank statements, for example) and psychiatric harm.
  •  Contact a solicitor.

It’s not necessary to use the services of a solicitor to make a claim, but we recommend it. It can be beneficial as they can negotiate for you and can value your claim correctly so you’re not under-compensated.

Feel free to contact our advisors for more information about the claims process. Your case will be reviewed by one of our advisors. They will make recommendations after you consult with them.

In the next sections of this guide to the consequences of a potential Arun District Council data breach, we look at compensation.

What Damages Are Awarded For Breaches In Data Protection?

If you have a valid claim for a data breach, you have two possible sources of damages: the psychological harm, (such as trauma or stress) the data breach caused, and the monetary loss resulting from the data breach.

Non-Material Damage

A data breach can be traumatic for the people involved. In addition to replacing credit and debit cards, your passport may need to be reissued, and you may have to switch back accounts. A significant amount of stress may result, which could be compensated for in a data breach claim.

Non-material damages aim to compensate you for the psychological harm a data breach causes you.

Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] was heard at the Court of Appeal. Even though no monetary losses were incurred as a direct result of the data breach, the claim was successful, setting a precedent for data breach mental injury claims.

As a consequence of the case, claimants are now able to seek compensation for psychological damage without also having to claim for financial loss caused by a data breach. Therefore, you could claim for both or either.

Material Damage

Material damages compensate you for financial losses caused by a data breach.

As an example, cybercriminals may have accessed information about your finances and credit cards. If this happens, you may be subject to substantial financial loss. If your claim is successful, you may be able to recover these losses if they haven’t been recovered already by the bank, for example.

To prove your losses, you could use documents like bank statements, invoices or credit scores.

Arun District Council Data Breach – Damages Calculator

You can use the table below to estimate how much compensation you might receive if you succeed in your claim for non-material damage.

This table was adapted from guidelines created by the Judicial College. These guidelines are used by legal professionals to help them when valuing injuries. They contain figures for varying injuries and severities.

Edit
Degree of Severity Health Problem Possible Compensation More Data
Severe Psychiatric Damage £51,460 – £108,620 This category includes severe mental injuries. The person will struggle with life, work and education and the prognosis will be poor.
Moderate Psychiatric Damage £5,500 – £17,900 Psychiatric damage of moderate severity falls into this category. There’ll be an improvement and the prognosis will be good.
Moderately severe Psychiatric Damage £17,900 – £51,460 Moderately severe psychiatric damage falls into this category. The prognosis would be better than in the ‘Severe’ category.
Less severe Psychiatric Damage Up to £5,500 In this category would be disorders with a lesser severity. Compensation would be calculated based on how much everyday life and sleep (for example) are affected.

Our advisors can value your claim for you if you would like a more accurate, free estimate. We also have an online compensation calculator.

The level of damages you could receive would be based on the unique circumstances of your claim. No two claims are the same, so a legal professional could evaluate your claim to give you a better idea of how much compensation you could potentially seek.

Arun District Council Data Breach – Using A No Win No Fee Solicitor

Do you know what a No Win No Fee agreement is? You’ve probably seen advertisements using this phrase, and have some general idea about how it works. In the event of a data breach, you could make a No Win No Fee agreement with a lawyer.

Under such an agreement:

  • You are not required to pay any lawyer fees until the lawyer settles your claim and the compensation comes through. Therefore, no lawyer fees will be charged while the lawyer processes your claim.
  • There are no upfront lawyer fees.
  • If the case loses, you won’t pay any lawyer fees at all.

You would need to pay your lawyer a success fee if you win your case. The success fee is listed in a No Win No Fee agreement and it’s also capped by law. It’s subtracted from the compensation payment only once it comes through.

All of our solicitors offer their services on a No Win No Fee basis. To see if our advisors can connect you, why not get in touch?

Contacting Our Team

Do you want to know more about filing a data breach compensation? Then let us assist. If you need free legal advice, please contact an advisor using any of the following methods. Our advisors are ready to help you 24/7. You’ll also be under no obligation to proceed with our services.

Our advisors can determine whether or not your claim is valid once we have reviewed it with you. If you have strong grounds to claim, they could connect you with our solicitors. If so, it is likely that a No Win No Fee arrangement could be possible.

Useful Pages

Further, these other websites may also be of use to you.

The following links lead to additional useful guides.

FAQs

Here are some answers to common questions related to claiming for a breach of data protection.

How long does a council have to report a data breach?

The local authority should report a data breach to the ICO within 72 hours if it risks the freedoms and rights of data subjects. Therefore, a failure to do so may result in punitive action.

Who do I contact about a data breach?

Firstly, you can contact the local authority if it relates to their security failings, followed by the ICO if you do not get a satisfactory response from the council. Secondly, you can contact us to see if you can start a claim.

What are the 3 types of data breaches?

There are several kinds of data breaches. They can be caused deliberately or accidentally and can be cyber-related or not.

Who is legally responsible for a data breach?

The organisation that had a responsibility to protect your personal data but failed to could be responsible. However, they may not always be. Additionally, if liability can be proven and you suffered financial loss or mental harm, you may be able to claim for a data breach.

Thank you for reading our guide on what you could do following an Arun District Council data breach. 

Written by Wheeler

Edited by Victorine

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    • Patrick Mallon

      Patrick is a Grade A solicitor having qualified in 2005. He's an an expert in accident at work and public liability claims and is currently our head of the EL/PL department. Get in touch today for free to see how we can help you.

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