Advice On Claiming If Your Law Firm Shared Your Personal Data

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A Law Firm Has Shared My Personal Data, Can I Claim?

By Stephen Hudson Last Updated 26th June 2024. This guide will review when you may have grounds to claim against a law firm that shared your personal data.

In this guide, a law firm’s responsibilities, either as a data controller or a data processor, are discussed. Furthermore, the guide investigates conditions that may authorise a law firm to share your personal data.

This guide will touch on when consent is necessary to share personal data, along with the other lawful bases for data processing. We will also explain the legislation in place to protect the personal data of UK residents.

Our team of advisors can offer free legal advice, and they can also answer any questions you might have about the claims process. If your claim is valid, they may also connect you with one of our expert data breach solicitors. Read on to learn more, or get in touch:

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Select A Section

  1. A Law Firm Shared My Personal Data, Could I Claim?
  2. How May A Law Firm Use Your Personal Data?
  3. How Could A Law Firm Have Correctly Shared Your Personal Data?
  4. How Much Compensation Can I Claim If A Law Firm Has Shared My Personal Data?
  5. Can Legal Experts Help If A Law Firm Shared My Personal Data?

A Law Firm Shared My Personal Data, Could I Claim?

If the availability, confidentiality, or integrity of your personal data is compromised in a security incident, this is a personal data breach. Your full name, email address, and phone number are all examples of personal data, as they are pieces of information that could identify you.

The two central pieces of legislation that protect the personal data of UK residents are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). Under this legislation, data controllers and processors must follow certain steps when handling personal data belonging to UK residents. This legislation is upheld by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is an independent UK watchdog.

The UK GDPR also sets out the criteria that all claims must meet in order to be valid. According to this legislation, if you wish to make a claim, the breach must:

If a law firm has shared your personal data, and this has caused you harm, you may be able to claim. Contact our advisors today to learn more.

How Could A Law Firm Have Correctly Shared Your Personal Data?

In order to share or process your personal data, the data controller must establish a lawful basis. However, consent is only one of the six lawful bases, so even if they do not ask for your permission, a law firm may have a legal reason to share your personal data. The six lawful bases for data processing include:

  • Contract: Processing data under this heading is necessary to fulfil a contract between the data controller or processor and the data subject
  • Vital interests: It is vital to process personal data to save someone’s life.
  • Public task: It is necessary to process this data in order to fulfil official duties or to carry out a public task.
  • Legal obligation: Data must be processed in order to comply with the law.
  • Consent: The data subject has given consent for their data to be processed.
  • Legitimate interests: it is necessary to process the data for the legitimate interests of the data controller, so long as the legitimate interests of the data subject do not override this.

However, even if a law firm does establish a legal basis, a personal data breach can still occur. For example, through human error, such as a failure to use the blind carbon copy (BCC) feature in an email.

If a law firm has shared your personal data without first establishing a lawful basis, and this has caused you to experience financial or mental harm, then you may be able to claim. Contact our advisors to start your solicitor data breach claim today.

How Common Are Law Firm Data Breaches?

CERT-UK, an organisation which coordinates the management of national cyber security incidents, revealed in a report from 2022 that 65% of law firms in the UK have been the victim of a cyber incident. It also revealed that 35% of firms did not have a cyber mitigation plan in place. That means that these firms did not have clearly established policies, technologies and procedures in place to reduce the likelihood and effects of a successful cyber-attack.

Has your personal information been affected by a law firm data breach caused by wrongful conduct by a data processor or data controller? If so, and you’ve suffered psychological or financial harm because of it, then you may be eligible to claim compensation. Contact our advisors for free today to learn more about whether you can start a data breach claim.

How Much Compensation Can I Claim If A Law Firm Has Shared My Personal Data?

A personal data breach can have serious negative impacts on your life, and you may be wondering if you are eligible for data breach compensation. A personal data breach claim can be comprised of two heads of claim, which are material damage or non-material damage. 

Material damage is the head of claim that recoups the financial losses of a breach. For example, if a law firm shared personal data such as your credit card details or tax information, this could lead to significant impacts, such as damage to your credit score.

Non-material damage compensates you for the psychological and emotional distress which developed as a result of the breach. For example, if you suffer anxiety due to a data breach, then non-material damage can address this.

The table below uses figures from the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help give you a broad idea of what you could potentially receive. Solicitors and other legal professionals often use the JCG to help them value compensation claims because it provides them with guideline compensation amounts. The figures below refer to non-material damage awards.

InjuryBracket
Severe Psychological Harm Plus Financial LossesUp to £200,000+
Psychiatric Damage (Severe)£66,920 to £141,240
Psychiatric Damage (Moderately Severe)£23,270 to £66,920
Psychiatric Damage (Moderate)£7,150 to £23,270
Psychiatric Damage (Less Severe)£1,880 to £7,150
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Severe)£73,050 to £122,850
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Moderately Severe)£28,250 to £73,050
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Moderate)£9,980 to £28,250
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (Less Severe)£4,820 to £9,980

Please note that these are guideline amounts only. For a free consultation and evaluation of your claim, get in touch with our advisors today.

 Can Legal Expert Help If A Law Firm Shared My Personal Data?

Our solicitors could help you through the claims process with their years of experience through a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA). Under this type of No Win No Fee arrangement, you typically will not pay any ongoing costs or upfront fees to your solicitor. In fact, the only fee your solicitor will take will come as a success fee in the event of a successful claim. If your claim does not succeed, your No Win No Fee data breach solicitor  will not take this fee.

Our team of advisors can evaluate your claim, and if they find it to be valid, they can connect you with one of our expert solicitors. They can also offer free legal advice and more guidance on what to do if a law firm has shared your personal data when you get in touch:

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Data Breach Claims Against Solicitors

For further resources surrounding personal data breaches:

Read our other guides for more information

If a law firm has shared your personal data, and this has caused you harm, get in touch with our advisors today.

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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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