Data Protection - Google granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court

Earlier this year we reported on the Court of Appeal decision in the Google case that means claimants can now bring a claim for breach of the Data Protection Act (DPA) if they have suffered distress without also having suffered a pecuniary loss.

Google has successfully applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal section 13(2) being disapplied. If successful, the former position will be reinstated.

The requirement to also suffer pecuniary loss was set out in section 13(2) of the DPA. The DPA was introduced in order to give effect to Article 23 of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC). Article 23 does not contain any such requirement in relation to pecuniary loss and the Court of Appeal held that section 13(2) should be disapplied.

Google applied to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal on three grounds. The first ground is irrelevant to this article and was, in any event, refused. Additionally, Google sought and was granted permission to appeal as to whether the Court of Appeal was right to:

  • hold that section 13(2) of the DPA is incompatible with Article 23 of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC)..
  • disapply section 13(2) of the DPA on the grounds that it conflicts with the rights in Article 7 (respect for private and family life) and 8 (protection of personal data) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
If Google wins in the Supreme Court and section 13(2) is reinstated then the former position requiring pecuniary loss as well as distress will be reinstated. Whilst this will be a blow for individuals and the protection of privacy it will be welcomed by most data controllers as it will reduce the number of potential claims for breach of the DPA.

Posted on 09/09/2015 by Ortolan

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