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University Of Bedfordshire Data Breach Compensation Claims Guide

In this article, we are going to discuss the concept of data breach compensation claims against the University of Bedfordshire. We shall also examine how data breaches could cause distress and financial struggles. In general, universities keep a lot of data about students. This can last beyond when the student finishes their studies. They can also keep personal information about staff, supporters and alumni. Universities need to keep all of this personal information secured because, if it gets into the wrong hands, it can cause the individuals affected serious problems.  

University of Bedfordshire data breach claims guide

Data breach claim against the University of Bedfordshire claims guide.

Recent laws look at how data controllers and processors can access, store or share your personal information.  The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 mean that organisations that process data that can be used to identify individuals have a duty to keep it confidentially and securely. If they fail to do so, and a data breach occurs, they could be handed a large fine by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Moreover, if the data breach causes you any harm, you could start legal proceedings to request compensation.

Legal Expert is here to help if you decide that you would like to start a claim. We have a team of specialists who are able to review your claim, without obligation, and offer free legal advice. If the claim appears strong enough, our advisors could refer it to one of our solicitors. Our solicitors accept and handle all cases on a No Win No Fee basis.

If you are ready to begin a university data breach claim today, please contact us on 0800 073 8804. Or, if you’d like to read the rest of the guide about data breach claims against the University of Bedfordshire, please continue reading.

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A Guide To Data Breach Claims Against The University Of Bedfordshire

When you make a purchase, use a website, visit a doctor, apply for a job or sign up for a university course, you will very likely be informed about how your data may be handled. Generally, organisations must let you know why they are collecting your data. In most cases, they will need your consent to use your personal data. 

This is a good thing but what’s vital is that the organisation adheres to your preferences. For example, if you register with a new beauty salon and they take your mobile number to contact you about appointments, they can’t share your information with others. This is unless you’ve agreed that they can use your number for that reason. Also, any organisation that stores personal information needs to take steps to prevent it from being leaked. If they don’t, they could face a severe financial penalty and you might be able to claim compensation if a data breach has caused you harm.

If you are considering starting data breach claims against the University of Bedfordshire, you’ll need to be aware of the relevant time limits. Usually, a claim needs to be lodged within 6 years. If the claim involves a breach of human rights, the limitation period is 1 year. Our solicitors would usually advise that you start any claim as soon as possible. That’s because they’ll probably have more success gathering supporting evidence the sooner the case begins. Additionally, you may find it easier to remember the impact the data breach had on you.

What Is A Data Breach Claim Against A University?

Many people think that a university data breach will involve someone hacking the computer system on campus and infecting it with malware or ransomware. While that could happen, data breaches can also involve physical documents and software services provided by third parties. In fact, a cloud computing provider that the University of Bedfordshire uses to keep records of and contact with their alumni, Blackbaud, was the victim of a serious data breach that we’ll look at later on.

The GDPR is sprawling and contains some definitions which do make it easier to understand the new rules. For instance, a personal data breach is defined as a security issue which means personal information is accessed, destroyed, lost, altered or disclosed in ways that are not authorised. The data subject is the person whose information the data controller has stored.

Data breaches can result from acts of negligence or deliberate and illegal actions. When an organisation becomes aware of such a breach, they have a duty to investigate. They then need to advise anybody who could be at risk about:

  • What information was disclosed.
  • When it was accessed.
  • Who you can contact about it.
  • How the breach occurred.
  • What the consequences could be and how they’re dealing with it.

If you have any questions about data breach claims against the University of Bedfordshire please call our team today. Through a free no-obligation consultation they can provide answers to your questions. 

Is The GDPR Applicable To Data Held By Universities?

Other definitions contained within the GDPR include data controllers and data processors. The controller is the party that defines why they require your data and the method that they will use to process it. The processor is a company or individual who processors the information on behalf of the controller.

To try and ensure compliance with the GDPR, several principles exist which data controllers must abide by. They include:

  • Making it clear to a data subject why they need their information.
  • Sticking to the law when processing data and ensuring the process is fair and transparent.
  • Only collecting the data that they actually require.
  • Keeping processed data secure and confidential.
  • Making sure that any personal information is up to date.
  • Not keeping processed data for any longer than they need it for.

In relation to the GDPR, personal information is listed as any data that might be able to identify a data subject directly or indirectly. This can include names, email addresses, dates of birth, ID numbers, telephone numbers and information relating to several protected characteristics such as race, gender, age and disability.

If you think you have been the victim of a data security breach, please let us know. We’ll review your case to see if you could be entitled to compensation.

Examples Of Universities Breaching Personal Data Privacy

Let’s now look at some examples of data breaches that have involved universities. We mentioned the Blackbaud hack earlier in this guide. Blackbaud is a company that provides computing solutions that allow universities and others to manage their information about and communications with supporters and alumni.

In May 2020, the company realised that their systems had been hacked and they were the victim of ransomware after portions of the data were stolen. Several UK universities, charities and trusts came forward to say Blackbaud had contacted them as their data had been leaked in the hack.

While most law enforcement agencies don’t recommend it, Blackbaud paid the cybercriminals a ransom so that they would destroy the data.


In our next case study, the ICO handed the University of Greenwich a £120,000 penalty. This was after an error caused a serious data breach involving personal information relating to almost 20,000 people.

The information which was leaked included telephone numbers, names and addresses. Some 3,500 records also contained sensitive data like staff sickness, extenuating circumstances and learning difficulties.

It happened because a university student set up a micro-website in 2004 to help with a training event. The website held personal data. After the event was over, the site was not decommissioned or secured.

In 2013, the site was compromised and three years later was attacked by multiple people. The fine issued by the ICO was because the university didn’t have measures in place to ensure such a breach could not happen.

How Common Are Data Breaches By Universities?

A study has revealed some statistics in relation to data and information security. The following information is from the 86 universities that replied to the Freedom of Information request:

  • In the past 12 months, 54% have needed to contact the ICO to report a data breach.
  • 46% of staff in universities have not received any awareness training 
  • On average, the spend on staff awareness training is only £7,529 
  • Student training is only provided in 51% of the universities. (Moreover, only 37% provide educational resources to those students who seek help). 

If you consider the type of personal information universities hold on staff, students and alumni, as well as the sensitive information that could be used during research activities, it is vital that systems holding such information are secured. 


Criminal Data Breaches Involving Stolen Information

There are a number of things universities could do which might increase security levels to reduce the risk of a data breach. They could include:

  • Ensuring all portable storage devices are rendered useless by encryption in the event of loss or theft.
  • Making staff and students aware of their data security responsibilities.
  • Keeping network and computer infrastructure up to date.
  • Asking a security firm to identify physical and network issues by conducting penetration testing.
  • Regularly reviewing and updating data privacy policies.

While we can’t offer advice on computer security, we could help you if you have been harmed in any way following a data breach. So, why not discuss what happened with one of our specially trained advisors today?

Different Ways In Which Data Breach Victims May Be Compensated

It’s important to point out that every university data breach claim affects people differently. Consequently, it is not possible to tell you exactly how much compensation you could be awarded in this guide. We can explain what you can claim for though. Once a solicitor assesses your claim, you should receive a personalised compensation estimate.

Your claim can be broken down into two heads of compensation: material and non-material damages. The first covers at financial losses while the second covers psychological damage caused by the data breach. These two elements need to be broken down further to look at the damage that has already occurred and any that might occur in the future. That’s because only one compensation claim is possible.

Therefore, when looking at financial losses, a solicitor should include the costs you’ve already incurred. However, they should also try to work out the cost of any long-term effects too. For instance, if an identity thief has used your personal information, it could affect your ability to obtain credit for many years to come.

In the same way, if you’ve suffered from anxiety, depression or similar diagnosed injuries, they might have an effect on your long-term ability to work. If that’s the case, you might include potential lost income in your claim.

The complexity of making such a claim is why we would advise you to have a legal specialist on your side. If you choose to work with us, and a specialist solicitor accepts your case, they will review your claim carefully. They do this to try and ensure you are compensated fairly by making sure all aspects of your suffering are included.

Please call today if you’d like your claim assessed for free and without obligation.

Calculating Data Breach Claims Against The University Of Bedfordshire

Data breach claims as you know have two elements; material damages and non-material damages. In this section, we are going to look at non-material damages. These are awarded for any mental suffering caused due to the breach. The Court of Appeal decided following Vidal-Hall and others v Google Inc [2015] case that those who have suffered psychological injuries but have not suffered financially are still able to claim. Also, that case led to the decision that any data breach compensation for mental injury should be made at the same levels as personal injury claims.

To highlight how much compensation could be awarded for injuries relevant to data breaches, we’ve added the table below. These figures are not for data breach claims alone but any personal injury case. It shows amounts listed in the Judicial College Guidelines. Legal specialists and courts may refer to the JCG when deciding settlement amounts.

Claims For: Range of Severity Compensation Range Additional Information
Psychiatric Injuries Severe £51,460 – £108,620 Victims in this range will suffer serious problems with how they cope with work and life in general. Treatment is unlikely to help, they will be vulnerable in the future and this will impact on how they manage relationships. Therefore, the prognosis will be very poor
Psychiatric Injuries Moderately Severe £17,900 – £51,460 In a similar way to the category above, the victim will suffer significantly in regard to the factors listed previously. However, the prognosis will be more optimistic.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Severe £56,180 – £94,470 This category will mean the victim has permanent symptoms of PTSD. They will not function anywhere near as well as they did before the trauma occurred which, in turn, will mean they are unable to return to work.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderately Severe £21,730 – £56,180 There will be a chance that although the victim suffers significantly for the immediate future, professional help could lead to a chance of some recovery.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderate £7,680 – £21,730 In this compensation bracket, most of the symptoms of PTSD will have been resolved and any that remain won’t be largely disabling.

When claiming for your injuries, it is important to prove how severe they were. To help you do so, as part of the claims process, you would visit a medical specialist. During your assessment, the independent specialist will assess your condition and ask you questions about how you have suffered. Once the appointment is over, the professional will prepare a report for your solicitor detailing their findings. If the findings allow for it, you could use this report as evidence that the breach caused or worsened your condition.

How To Make A University Data Breach Claim

You may want to gather more information in relation to what may be meant by a University of Bedfordshire data breach. If that is the case, our advisors could assist you.

It is possible that you are thinking of asking a friend to recommend a solicitor. You might want to read online reviews of prospective lawyers (ours are here). Or you could feel tempted to look for the closest law firm. But do you really want all of that hassle?

Why not just call Legal Expert instead? If you do, you’ll have the opportunity to ask as many questions as you need while your claim is assessed for free. If you decide to work with us, and a solicitor takes your claim on, they will regularly update you throughout the case. They’ll be there if you need anything explaining during the claim and they will work hard to try and make sure you are compensated fully for the harm caused by the data breach.

You can find out more about how we could help with your claim by calling the number at the top of the page.

No Win No Fee Data Breach Claims Against The University Of Bedfordshire

Many worry that making a claim using a solicitor will be expensive. However, this is not the case if you use a solicitor that offers a No Win No Fee service. That means that you only have to pay your solicitor’s fees if you receive compensation. This could make the whole process a lot less stressful. Data breach lawyers can provide their expertise and knowledge and can be very beneficial to your case.

A solicitor will need to verify that there is a reasonable chance of winning your case before taking it on. If they are happy to continue, and when you are ready, they’ll supply you with a Conditional Fee Agreement (or CFA). This is the contract which outlines what work will be carried out and will also show you that:

  • You do not have to pay the solicitor upfront.
  • There will not be any hidden charges or solicitor’s fees payable during the case.
  • Should the claim be unsuccessful, you won’t need to cover the solicitor’s fees.

Your CFA should explain that is you win your case, your solicitor will deduct a portion of any compensation to cover the cost of their work. This is called a success fee. Legally, such fees are capped. To make it clear from the start, the percentage of your success fee is listed within the CFA.

Why not contact our team today to check if you are eligible to use our No Win No Fee Service?

Discuss Your Data Breach Case

Thank you for reading our guide about data breach claims against the University of Bedfordshire. Should you need to find out anything more, you can contact Legal Expert by:

You can contact our claims line any time, night or day. We’ll listen to what’s happened, consider any evidence you might have and potentially connect you with a data breach solicitor if the grounds for claiming are strong enough.

Related Services And Supporting Guides

To end this guide about data breach claims against the University of Bedfordshire, we’ve linked to some additional relevant resources. In addition, as Legal Expert offer support for other types of claims, we’ve linked to some more of our guides as well.

Request Exam Result Information – Advice for students from the ICO on how to find out how their exam results were graded during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – This NHS article explains the causes and symptoms of PTSD.

Road Traffic Accident Claims – Details on starting a compensation claim if you are injured in an RTA.

Accidents In School – Information on representing your child in a claim if they’ve been injured at school.

Other Useful Compensation Guides

Written by Hambridge

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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