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Ministry of Defence Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

When you give your personal information to an employer, they have a duty of care to keep it safe and prevent it from ending up in the public domain. After all, with the right information cybercriminals can cause a lot of harm and ongoing problems. In this article, we’re going to look at when a claim could be made for a Ministry of Defence (MoD) data breach, how they can happen and what harm they can cause. We’ll also provide information on MoD data breaches that have been in the news and involve sensitive military information.

Ministry of Defence data breach claims guide

Ministry of Defence data breach claims guide

The laws governing your personal information changed when the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) was enacted into British law by The Data Protection Act 2018. It now means organisations who want to process any personal data are required to seek permission first.

Also, they have a duty of care to protect any information they hold about you and to store it safely. That goes for employers too. So, if you’re an MoD employee, and a data breach exposes your personal information, you might be eligible for compensation provided you can prove the breach and harm caused.

Legal Expert can help you start a claim as we offer free legal advice and a no-obligation assessment of any case. If the case is strong enough, you could be paired with a specialist data protection solicitor who will handle any claim they accept on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you would like to discuss your claim today, please get in touch on 0800 073 8804. For more information on data breach claims against the Ministry of Defence, please read the rest of this guide.

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A Guide To Data Breach Compensation Claims Against The Ministry of Defence

The GDPR has made wholesale changes to the way we do things these days. When you visit a website, book an appointment, make a purchase or sign a contract of employment, there will be sections asking for your permission to process any of your personal information.  This might be by way of tick boxes, signatures or pop-up boxes that ask you to agree to one thing or another.

The reason you see these GDPR interactions is because any organisation, including your employer, who wants to store, process or share information that could identify you has to seek your permission first. Importantly, once they’ve confirmed your preferences, they have to abide by them at all times.

Any company who fails to operate within the GDPR rules could face a heavy financial penalty from the Information Commissioner’s Office. In addition, you might decide that you want to start legal proceedings and request compensation for any of the harm a data breach has caused you.

There are strict time limits involved with data breach claims. Generally, the limitation period for starting a claim is 6-years. However, this is greatly reduced to just a single year when the claim is regarding breaches of your human rights.

Even though 6-years is a long time, we’d always suggest that it’s easier to recall everything that’s happened if you start your claim as early as you can. In addition, your solicitor is likely to find it easier to obtain the evidence to support your claim.

If you would like a specialist to take a look at your claim and review your options for free, please call us today. Please remember that any advice we provide is free whether you claim or not.

The Capita Data Breach

In March 2023, Capita, which administers the pension funds for lots of organisations, including The Ministry Of Defence, suffered a cyber attack in which personal information was exposed. If you’d like to enquire as to whether you could claim compensation for this breach, get in touch.

You can learn more about the Capita data breach here.

What Is A Data Breach Claim Against The MoD?

In this section, we’re going to clarify what a data breach is in terms of the GDPR. In its 88-pages, a personal data breach is described as a security failure that results in personally identifiable information being lost, altered, accessed, destroyed or disclosed in a way that you’ve never agreed to.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) are able to impose large financial penalties on any company found to have broken data protection rules whether the act that led to a breach was accidental, on purpose or illegal.

When a data breach is discovered, the company who is responsible for the data needs to contact the ICO and those involved to let them know how the breach occurred, what information was accessed and when the incident took place.

If you’d like advice on a possible Ministry of Defence data breach claim, why not get in touch with our team today?

Does The General Data Protection Regulation Apply To The MoD?

The GDPR states that a data controller is an organisation who defines the need to process personal information and designs the methods by which the information will be processed. As an employer, the MoD will be defined as a data controller because they require personnel information to be processed and stored that relates to their staff (the data subject).

There are a set of principles listed in the GDPR which data controllers have to be able to show compliance with. They include:

  • A data subject must be made aware of the legitimate reason behind the need to process their information.
  • All data processing must be conducted legally, fairly and in a way that’s transparent.
  • A minimum amount of data should be collected.
  • Data can only be stored for as long as necessary.
  • Processing of data should be confidential and secure (this may mean the data needs to be encrypted).
  • Any personal records should be checked and updated where necessary.

Legal Expert is here to support you if you decide you wish to claim for the harm caused by a Ministry of Defence data breach. Please call today to start a claim or if you have any questions.

How The Ministry of Defence Could Breach Data Protection Regulations

In this part of our guide, we’re going to look at different ways in which a breach of data might take place. Surprisingly, not all of them involve computer or network security issues. Here are a few examples:

  • When a member of staff who has no business reason to do so searches for and accesses your personal information.
  • If a computer screen is left unlocked and non-MoD staff view personal information about you.
  • Where paper records containing personally identifiable information are disposed of rather than being securely destroyed and end up in the public domain.
  • If an office is broken into and records are stolen because they weren’t stored securely.
  • When memory sticks or MoD laptops are lost or stolen and contain data which is accessible.
  • Where a letter intended for you is sent to the wrong member of staff.
  • If data is shared by the MoD with other organisations or government departments who you’ve not authorised.

This is just a small sample of scenarios that could lead to a personal data breach. If you believe you’ve been harmed by one and would like to discuss starting a claim, please contact our advice line today.

Has The Ministry of Defence Suffered Any Data Breaches?

While we’re not aware of a Ministry of Defence data breach that has led to an ICO investigation or fine, we’re going to show a case study in this section. One news agency reported multiple MoD breaches in one year.

The news agency article states that during 2017, the MoD and partner organisations failed to protect sensitive data on 37 different occasions. During that time the National Cyber Security Centre and the MoD both issued warnings that a Chinese hacking group were targeting IT suppliers for military intelligence.

The reports that were obtained by the news agency were highly redacted so the outcome of each incident isn’t known, or whether any damaging data was obtained by the hackers.

For national security reasons, the MoD would not confirm any details relating to the breaches other than to confirm they had taken place.


Making Complaints To The Information Commissioner’s Office About Public Authorities

The Information Commissioner’s Office is the organisation who could issue fines to companies and public bodies who are found guilty of security breaches involving sensitive data.

Before you can approach the ICO and request an investigation, you need to lodge a formal complaint with the MoD first. When you receive a formal response letter, you’ll be told how the complaint can be escalated if you’re not happy with the outcome.

When you’ve followed all possible avenues of escalation, and it has been 3-months or more since you last heard from the MoD, you can reach out to the ICO. Beware that if you leave a complaint too long, the ICO can refuse to entertain it.

The ICO doesn’t have any powers to award you compensation but they could issue a financial penalty and force any company to change the way it manages data protection going forward.

How To Seek Compensation As A Data Breach Victim

In this section, we’ll briefly remind you of how you go about starting a Ministry of Defence data breach claim. In the first instance, you should start a formal complaint with the MoD. After they’ve investigated and you’ve received a formal response, you need to decide whether to accept their findings or start legal action against them.

As part of any legal proceedings, your solicitor might recommend that you ask the ICO to investigate what happened. As we’ve already mentioned, the ICO can’t award compensation but the findings of their investigation might make the process of claiming compensation easier.

If you wish to discuss starting an MoD data breach claim, and it has been 3-months since they last communicated with you about your complaint, why don’t you get in touch with our claims line and ask an advisor to review your case for free? If the claim is accepted by a solicitor, they’ll review everything with you and let you know whether you need to involve the ICO or not.

How You Could Be Compensated If A Public Body Breached Your Data Privacy

When you claim for a Ministry of Defence data breach, a solicitor could seek two different things:

  • Material Damages.
    Compensation which aims to reimburse you for your financial losses.
  • Non-material Damages.
    Compensation which aims to compensate you for the pain and suffering resulting from psychological injuries. 

It’s obviously not as simple as that though! Your solicitor will have to assess how you’ve been affected already, and in addition, they will need to account for any future suffering as well.

As an example, if you’ve suffered from anxiety, depression or stress because of the breach, your solicitor could look at whether those conditions might affect you in the future as they could have an impact on your ability to cope with education, life or work and also cause problems with your personal or professional relationships.

In addition, when you look to claim for financial losses, your claim will include any costs you’ve already incurred and also any future losses too. With identity theft crimes, for instance, your financial credit file could be damaged when the criminal uses your details and that could affect your ability to obtain credit in the future.

As we’ve shown, an MoD data breach claim can become rather complex at times which is the main reason we advise you to take on specialist legal representation. If you work with a Legal Expert solicitor, they’ll look at each aspect of your case to see how you’ve been affected and whether you’ll continue to be in the future. Getting the claim right is important because you can only make one.

Please get in touch with our claims line if you’d like to find out whether your claim could be taken on and whether you’re entitled to a compensation settlement.

Calculating Data Breach Compensation Settlement Awards

While we can’t tell you exactly what compensation you’ll receive (because each claim is unique), we can provide some example compensation figures in the table that follows. When compensation awards are assessed, lawyers and courts often refer to the Judicial College Guidelines which is where the figures in our table have been taken from.

Unlike some forms of compensation, you are able to claim for psychological injuries caused by a data breach even when you’ve not suffered financially. That right came from the case Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] at the Court of Appeal where the judges also decided that any payments awarded should be at the same level as personal injury claims.

Type of Claim Level Range of Settlement Further details
Psychiatric Injuries Severe £51,460 to £108,620 In the most severe cases the victim will have serious problems managing relationships and coping with life, education and work. The likelihood of treatment helping are low and the victim will remain vulnerable in the future leading to a poor prognosis.
Psychiatric Injuries Moderately Severe £17,900 to £51,460 Within this compensation bracket, the victim will suffer significantly with the types of problems listed below. However, their prognosis will be more optimistic.
Psychiatric Injuries Less Severe Up to £5,500 This category factors in how long any suffering lasted and the length of time taken before daily activities and sleep returned to normal.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Severe £56,180 to £94,570 There are many symptoms of PTSD like nightmares, flashbacks, mood disorders and avoidance. In this category, symptoms will be permanent and affect all aspects of the victim’s life badly.
PTSD Moderately Severe £21,730 to £56,180 The victim will suffer in similar ways to above for the foreseeable future but there will be a better prognosis because it will be deemed that professional support could help the victim’s situation improve.

To help prove the level of your injury (which is how settlements are determined), you’ll be asked to participate in a local medical assessment when you begin your claim. During the meeting, a specialist medical professional will refer to your medical notes and ask several questions about how the data breach has affected you. When the appointment is over, they will prepare a medical report and send it to your solicitor.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Compensation Claims Against The MoD

One of the most worrying parts of claiming compensation is the fear that you’ll lose money if the case is lost. To alleviate that worry and to reduce your financial risks, Legal Expert’s solicitors use a No Win No Fee agreement to fund any case they take on.

If your claim is referred to a solicitor, they’ll verify that it has a good chance of success. If they decide to take the claim on, you’ll be provided with a Conditional Fee Agreement (referred to as a CFA) to review. Once you’re happy and you’ve signed the agreement, your case can begin. The CFA will set out how your case will be managed and show you that:

  • You don’t pay any fees upfront.
  • No solicitor’s fees are payable while the case is ongoing.
  • You won’t have to cover the cost of the solicitor’s work if the case fails.

If the claim comes to a positive conclusion, a percentage of any compensation payment will be retained by the solicitor to cover their time and costs. This is referred to as a success fee which is listed in your CFA and legally capped.

If you would like us to check if you’re eligible to claim using our No Win No Fee service, please ask a member of our team.

How Our Claims Process Works

If you’re going to begin a claim, you’ll probably want to find a solicitor to help you through the legal complexities. You could find a specialist solicitor by searching locally, asking a friend for a recommendation or taking a look at online reviews – or you could make the job even easier by calling Legal Expert.

Our team of solicitors have worked on many different compensation claims for our clients over the decades. If your claim is taken on, you won’t have to deal with the defendant in your case at all. All communications will be handled by your solicitor who will also provide updates regularly and explain any legal jargon that crops up. The main part of their role is to work as hard as possible to try and make sure you’re compensated fully for the harm you’ve suffered.

To find out more about what we can do to help you with your claim, please contact our specialists today.

Start A Claim

Thank you for completing this guide to Ministry of Defence data breach claims. If you’d now like to start a compensation claim with Legal Expert, here are the best methods of getting in touch:

  • Use our live chat option to explain how you’ve suffered to an online advisor.
  • Call a member of our team for completely free claims advice on 0800 073 8804.
  • Request a call from a data breach specialist by completing our online claims form.
  • Send details of your claim in an email addressed to

As we know how difficult it can be to find the time to start a claim, our advice line remains open 7-days a week, 24-hours a day. When you get in touch, a data breach specialist will review your case with you and look at any evidence you’ve already obtained. If they’re of the opinion that the claim is strong enough, you could be paired with a specialist No Win No Fee data breach solicitor from our team.

Other Links

This is the final section of our article about making a claim for a Ministry of Defence data breach. Therefore, we’ve provided some more useful external resources for you below. In addition, as we cover other types of compensation claims, we’ve included some further guides which might prove useful.

MoD Data Privacy Notice – The MoD’s notice that sets out its data protection principles.

Data Protection Guide – A guide for data protection officers provided by the ICO.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – This is an NHS guide on how PTSD is spotted, what causes it and how it’s treated.

Injured At Work? – A guide that shows you if you could be eligible to compensation for injuries caused by a workplace accident.

Uninsured Driver Claims – Advice on how to start a claim for injuries resulting from an RTA where the other driver wasn’t insured.

GP Medical Negligence – Information on how you could claim for the suffering that results from a GP’s negligence.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Guide by Hambridge

Edited by Billing

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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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