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University College Birmingham Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

If you’ve suffered harm because of a University College Birmingham data breach, either financially or emotionally, you may be able to make a data breach claim for compensation if you can prove the breach and the harm it caused you.

Data breaches could happen for a number of reasons. They could be accidental or malicious and could occur due to phishing, malware, a virus, or unauthorised access by a third party. These are just a few examples. If you believe you could be eligible to make a data breach compensation claim for breach of data protection compensation, this guide could provide the answers you are looking for.

University College Birmingham data breach claims guide

University College Birmingham data breach claims guide

In the sections below, we explain what kinds of responsibilities universities have when it comes to data protection. We’ll explain the laws that protect your personal data, and how breaches of data protection that inflict harm could lead to you being eligible to claim compensation.

We’ll also discuss how it could be possible for you to claim for emotional harm caused by a University College Birmingham data breach, and explain how much compensation could be appropriate for different levels of psychological injury.

In addition to all this, we’ll introduce you to our services, and show you how using a lawyer for your Birmingham University College data breach claim could help maximise your compensation.

If you’d like to discuss your case with us or are ready to start a claim, please do not hesitate to call our helpline on 0800 073 8804.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against University College Birmingham

If a University College Birmingham data breach has cost you financially, you could be in a position to claim compensation for the monetary damage you’ve suffered. But a Birmingham University data breach could also cause you anxiety, stress and even loss of sleep, and you may be eligible to claim compensation for this too.

Educational establishments, like all other large organisations, have legal responsibilities to protect the personal data of their staff, alumni, donors and students, and if they breach data protection laws by violating your privacy, you could claim against them for the harm you’ve suffered, both financially and psychologically.

In the sections below, we’ll explain how a data breach could happen and how it could lead to a claim. We also discuss the consequences of a Birmingham University College data breach and include examples of how personal data has been breached by universities in the past.

We’ll also offer some insight into how compensation for such cases could be calculated, and how we could help you begin a data breach claim against University College Birmingham—provided you have clear evidence of the breach and details of how it has impacted you.

What Is A Data Breach Claim Against University College Birmingham?

University College Birmingham stores and processes personal data that belongs to its alumni, students, donors and staff. As a data controller/processor, it must comply with the Data Protection Act 2018, as well as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

But what happens if something goes wrong and your personal data is breached? If this happens, and University College Birmingham was responsible, they could be in trouble with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), who could investigate the breach and take action against them, including issuing them with a fine.

You could also make a University College Birmingham data breach claim against the university if you can prove that the breach has caused you harm in some way; either psychologically, financially or both.

What Is A Data Breach?

According to GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, a breach of your personal data could be either malicious or accidental and could happen because of someone inside or outside of the establishment. It could include:

  • Loss of availability of your data
  • Unauthorised access, transmission, processing, alteration, storage or disclosure
  • Loss of data
  • Theft of data

How Could A Birmingham University College Data Breach Happen?

The ways in which this could happen are many and varied, but could include:

  • Employee error
  • A cyber attack
  • Ransomware
  • Malware
  • DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) incidents
  • A virus
  • A hacking

How Could I Be Affected By A University College Birmingham Data Breach?

Breached, lost or stolen information could lead to some very unpleasant consequences. These could include:

  • Physical theft – if a cybercriminal has enough of your personal data to use it to access your bank accounts, they could steal your money, or make fraudulent purchases using your details.
  • Identity theft – someone could use your personal data to apply for financial products such as loans or credit cards
  • Selling hacked data – someone could sell your details to a third party
  • Psychological injury – if you have found out your data has been breached, this could be similar to finding out you have been burgled. You could suffer anxiety, stress, loss of sleep and depression due to data breach incidents.

What May Be The Impact Of The GDPR On Universities?

GDPR is known to be the most stringent data privacy and security law in the world. It has an impact on all organisations that control, process and store data of EU subjects, no matter where in the world they are. There are 7 principles behind GDPR, which include:

  • Accuracy – the personal data must be regularly updated to ensure its accuracy
  • Limitation of purpose – the data must be processed for legitimate reasons, and the data subject should be aware of the purpose for which their data is being held or processed
  • Limitation of storage – the data must only be stored for as long as it is absolutely necessary for its intended purpose
  • Minimisation – data controllers/processors should only hold/process the minimum amount of data required for the purpose
  • Transparency, lawfulness, and fairness – all data should be processed or stored lawfully and fairly. There should be transparency between data subjects and organisations that store or process data.
  • Confidentiality/Integrity – data security and confidentiality must be maintained. Some ways in which this can be done from a cybersecurity perspective include end-to-end encryption and two-factor authentication.
  • Accountability – any controller/processor should ensure they can prove they are compliant with these principles

If a university goes against any of these principles, the organisation could be investigated and the ICO could take enforcement action against them, which could lead to hefty fines. You could also make a claim for a University College Birmingham data breach if you can prove that it has caused you material or non-material damage, which we’ll consider below.

Which Universities Have Suffered Breaches Of Data Privacy?

In 2020, there was a cyberattack using ransomware that affected the data held by eight universities across the UK, known at the Blackbaud hack.

Blackbaud, a company that provided database services to UK universities, paid the perpetrator a ransom, with confidence that the data that had been breached had been destroyed. The hacked data included personal data relating to alumni, students and staff being breached. The details of the data that was accessed unlawfully were said to include:

  • Names
  • Dates of birth
  • Contact details
  • Addresses
  • Genders

If this sort of data fell into the wrong hands, it could have unwelcome consequences, such as identity theft, physical theft and could also cause data subjects to suffer anxiety and stress. If you have been affected by the Blackbaud hack, we could help you make a University data breach claim for compensation.

In addition to this incident, it has been revealed that the ICO fined the University of Greenwich £120,000 in 2018 for a breach of data protection laws. The data breach included the details of nearly 20,000 people which included students and staff.

Statistics About Data Breaches Affecting Universities

If you’re wondering how common a breach of data by a university is, you may be interested to read the below statistics:

  • A study by IT Governance revealed that 54% of UK universities reported a breach of data to the ICO in 2018/19.
  • Another study revealed that 46% of university employees had not received data security awareness training.
  • Cybersecurity tests carried out in 2019 by Jisc (a University ISP) revealed that some university’s computer systems were somewhat insecure. In those tests, the data held by over 50 universities were accessed in under 2 hours.

If you’ve suffered a possible University College Birmingham data breach, you can see that you would not have been alone in having your privacy violated. We could help you claim compensation for a data breach that has caused you harm. Simply get in touch with our team on the number at the top of this page to find out more.

University Cyber Security Breaches And Data Theft

University data breaches could cause harm to universities in many different ways. Not only could they have to pay university data breach compensation, but they could also risk fines from the ICO.  However, there are other detrimental effects that a university data breach could cause:

  • Affecting public perception – if a university suffers damage to how the public perceives it, this could reduce enrolment numbers and funding
  • Exposure of research material – some universities conduct large amounts of experiments and research, resulting in valuable and sensitive data being produced. If such data is insecure, it could lead to the data falling into the wrong hands.

What Is The Safest Way To Store Personal University Data?

This is a question that may not have a simple answer. A university’s approach to data protection needs to be robust, and therefore a variety of data protection resources may be needed. This may include:

  • The engagement of specialists to create a data security plan
  • The application of security training for staff and students
  • The use of secure, robust computer systems that are regularly checked and maintained
  • A stringent university data breach policy

What Damages Do You Claim For?

If you can prove that you’ve suffered financial damage from a University College Birmingham data breach, you could claim university data breach compensation to cover this damage, but you may also be able to claim for psychological damages that have resulted from the breach, as well as for a loss of privacy.

Data Breaches Causing Psychological Harm

If you can show that a Birmingham University College data breach has caused you to lose sleep, or suffer stress, anxiety or depression, there is legal precedent that allows you to claim for this. Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] – Court of Appeal, a case heard in 2015, set out that data breach compensation can be awarded to those who have suffered psychological harm, even if no financial losses have been sustained. Previously, it wasn’t possible to claim for just psychological injuries. It was also recommended that compensation for psychological injuries in data breach claims be calculated in line with personal injury law.

Calculating How Much Your Settlement Maybe Worth

If you’re intending making a data breach claim against University College Birmingham for psychological harm, you’d need to visit an independent medical expert as part of your claim to evidence your injuries.

The expert would assess your notes, ask you questions and provide a written report of your psychological injuries and your prognosis for the future. This report could be used to hone in on a value for your claim.

If you’re wondering about what levels of compensation could be appropriate for psychological injuries, we’ve produced a table to give you some insight into this. The figures we have included come from the Judicial College Guidelines; a publication that courts and lawyers could use to come to an appropriate value for your claim.

InjuriesApproximate Compensation BracketExplanation
Psychiatric injury (severe)£51,460 to £108,620The person would have been impacted significantly with regards to their ability to deal with education, work, relationships and life in general. Any treatment effects would be assessed when determining how much compensation could be appropriate.
Psychiatric injury (moderately severe)£17,900 to £51,460Similar impact on the injured party to the above, but they would have more of a positive prognosis.
Psychiatric injury (moderate)£5,500 to £17,900Similar impact on the injured party to the above,but with significant improvements by the time of the claim’s resolution and a good prognosis.
Psychiatric injury (less severe)Up to £5,500The effect on sleep, work and daily activities would be assessed. Also taken into consideration would be how severe the damage was and how long they’d suffered from it.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (severe)£56,180 to £94,470The injury would have impacted every aspect of the injured party’s life. Effects would be permanent and there wouldn’t be any way the person would be able to function like they did before.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (moderately severe)£21,730 to £56,180The person may have benefitted from some professional assistance and would have a more positive prognosis but significant damage that would last into the foreseeable future.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (moderate)£7,680 to £21,730The person affected would have made a large amount of recovery with any continuing issues not being grossly disabling.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (less severe)Up to £7,680A virtually full recovery would have been achieved within 1-2 yrs.

For a more precise valuation, why not contact our expert team? Once they know more about your case they can hone in on a value.

How Does The Process Of Claiming Damages Work?

If you want to report a University College Birmingham data breach to the institution directly, you could write them a letter explaining how you believe your data has been breached and ask them to investigate the incident and provide you with an explanation. You could also tell them how you have been affected by the breach and ask for university data breach compensation.

If you do not believe you have been given a satisfactory explanation of what has happened, you could report them to the ICO. You should do so within three months of the breach, however, because the ICO won’t generally investigate if there has been an undue delay in bringing a breach to its attention.

Why Consider A Lawyer’s Assistance?

Making a data breach claim against University College Birmingham would involve you proving that:

  • They breached your personal data
  • You were harmed by that breach
  • You are making a claim within the relevant time limit (6 years for a data breach, 1 year if it is a breach of human rights)

Such claims could be complex, and you may be worried that you would miss out on the compensation you could have been entitled to if you go it alone.

A lawyer could help you by taking on the legal legwork involved in making a claim. They could also ensure that you don’t miss out on anything you might have been entitled to claim. In addition to this, they could negotiate for the maximum payout possible for your claim.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Against University College Birmingham

If you’re interested in using a lawyer to help you with a University College Birmingham data breach claim, you might be happy to learn that if you claim under No Win No Fee terms, you won’t have to pay a penny upfront or throughout your claim in legal fees. You would only pay your lawyer if your claim was successful, and the legal fees would be taken from your compensation payout. The process works like this:

  • Your solicitor would send you a Conditional Fee Agreement and ask you to sign it. It would include details of a success fee, which you’d only have to pay if your case is successful. The fee would represent a small portion of your compensation payout and would be legally capped.
  • Once the agreement had been signed and received back, the solicitor would begin to work on your case. They would submit your claim and negotiate compensation on your behalf.
  • If they achieved a settlement for you, their success fee would then be deducted from your payout.
  • If they didn’t achieve a settlement, you wouldn’t pay their costs or the success fee.

You can read more about No Win No Fee data breach claims at the bottom of this guide.

Finding a No Win No Fee Lawyer

If you’re interested in claiming under these terms and are wondering how to find a solicitor who could take on your claim on this basis, we could help.

Here at Legal Expert, we could assess your case and provide you with a No Win No Fee lawyer to help you with a University College Birmingham data breach claim if we believe you could be eligible for compensation.

We could answer any questions you might have about making a claim, and we could provide you with a free eligibility check to see if you could have a valid claim. This would put you under no obligation to use our service. If you do have a valid claim, we could provide you with a lawyer working on No Win No Fee payment terms who could fight for the compensation you deserve.

Why not check out some of our reviews from past clients? 

Discuss Your Case With Us

If you’re ready to get in touch with us about your data breach claim, whether its to ask questions or to be provided with a lawyer, there are various ways to reach us:

However you’d prefer to get in touch, we’re ready to help.

Related Services

More Information About Making A Claim – We have also produced a general guide on making a data breach claim. You might find this of interest.

I Want To Make A No Win No Fee Claim– More information about what’s involved in making a No Win No Fee claim is included within this guide.

Credit Card Data Breach Claims– If your personal data has been breached by a credit card provider, this guide might be of interest to you.

ICO Enforcement– For details of fines and actions taken by the ICO relating to data breaches, click here.

ICO’s Guide To Compensation – You can read about taking an organisation to court for a data protection breach here.

What Is A Data Breach? – More information from the ICO about what constitutes a data breach.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Thank you for reading our guide to University College Birmingham data breach claims. We hope you’ve found it useful.


Guide by Jeffries

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.