In this guide, we discuss when you could be eligible to seek data breach compensation following a divorce data breach that impacted you financially or emotionally. There are certain parties that have a responsibility to protect your personal data under data protection laws. We explore these in further detail throughout our guide as well as provide examples of how a failure to do so could lead to a breach of your personal data.
Additionally, we discuss the steps you could take following a personal data breach, including collecting evidence to strengthen your case.
Furthermore, we explain how compensation for a data breach is calculated and what each settlement could comprise following a successful claim.
We conclude our guide by explaining how the solicitors on our panel might assist you in starting a data breach compensation claim via a type of No Win No Fee agreement.
Read on to learn more about claiming for the effects of a data breach. Alternatively, call our team if have questions about data breach claims. An advisor can discuss your potential case and provide free guidance. To reach them, you can:
Select A Section
- What Is A Divorce Data Breach And When Can You Claim?
- How Could A Divorce Lawyer Cause A Data Breach?
- Calculating Data Breach Compensation Values
- What Could You Do After A Divorce Data Breach?
- Make A No Win No Fee Data Breach Claim
- Learn More About Making A Divorce Data Breach Claim
Under the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR), certain parties have a responsibility to protect your personal data. These are known as data controllers, those who decide how and when your personal data will be processed, and data processors, those who process your personal data on the controller’s behalf. In some cases, the controller will process your personal data themselves and this task isn’t always outsourced to a processor.
These laws are enforced by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), an independent body set up to uphold the information rights of data subjects. If there is a failure by the controller or processor to adhere to these laws, it could potentially lead to a personal data breach. The ICO describes a personal data breach as a security incident that impacts your personal data’s integrity, confidentiality, and availability.
Personal data is information that can be used alone or alongside other details to identify you. This can include your name, phone number, date of birth and email address. There is also special category data which is more sensitive and requires extra protection. This can include data concerning health, a person’s sex life and sexual orientation, and data revealing racial or ethnic origin.
In order to be eligible to begin a claim following a divorce data breach, you need to be able to demonstrate that the following occurred:
- There were failings by the controller or processor to protect your personal data under the DPA and UK GDPR.
- As a result of their wrongful conduct, your personal data was compromised in a breach.
- Due to the personal data breach, you experienced financial loss and/or mental harm.
Data Breach Claims Time Limits
In addition to meeting the criteria above, you also need to start your data breach claim within 6 years. This is set out in the Limitation Act 1980. However, there may be some exceptions that apply in other circumstances.
To discuss your specific case and find out whether you’re eligible to pursue data breach compensation and how long you have to do so, please contact an advisor on the number above.
Below, we have provided examples of how a divorce data breach could occur and lead you to experience emotional and/or financial damage.
- Sensitive data relating to your divorce is sent to the wrong email address despite your solicitor having the correct details on file. Alternatively, your divorce papers are sent to the incorrect postal address because of a failure to update your contact details. As a result, you suffer anxiety and stress due to the nature of the data compromised. This leads to you taking time off work and suffering a loss of earnings as a result.
- Inadequate cyber security systems lead to a ransomware attack in which your personal data is stolen. This causes you to experience stress and anxiety.
- Your personal data, including your credit and debit card details, are not disposed of correctly, resulting in authorised parties gaining access.
For more information regarding your potential divorce data breach claim, please contact an advisor using the number at the top of the page.
If your divorce data breach claim is a success, there are two types of damage for which you could receive compensation. The first is non-material damage which refers to the psychological harm caused by the personal data breach, such as anxiety, distress, stress, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in more severe cases.
Those who calculate the value of non-material damage can refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG), a publication containing guideline compensation brackets that correspond to different types of harm. You can find a selection of these figures in the table below. However, please use the figures as a guide only.
|Type of Psychological Harm||Degree of Severity||Notes||Award Brackets - Guidelines|
|Psychiatric Damage Generally||(a) Severe||A very poor prognosis with marked problems affecting several areas of the person's life, such as their relationships with family and friends.||£54,830 to £115,730|
|(b) Moderately Severe||Significant problems affecting several areas of the person's life but with a better prognosis.||£19,070 to £54,830|
|(c) Moderate||A significant improvement is made and the person has a good prognosis.||£5,860 to £19,070|
|(d) Less Severe||The award given will be influenced by how long the person was affected and to what extent.||£1,540 to £5,860|
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)||(a) Severe||The person faces negative and permanent effects on all areas of their life. They are unable to function at a pre-trauma level.||£59,860 to £100,670|
|(b) Moderately Severe||A significant disability for the foreseeable future but with a better prognosis and some recovery due to receiving professional help.||£23,150 to £59,860|
|(c) Moderate||A large recovery with any ongoing issues not being grossly disabling.||£8,180 to £23,150|
|(d) Less Severe||There is a mostly full recovery made within a couple of years and only minor issues continuing over a longer period.||£3,950 to £8,180|
The second type of damage is material damage which refers to the financial harm caused to you by the personal data breach. For example:
- Loans taken out in your name or fraudulent purchases made following a credit or debit card breach.
- Lost income caused by having to take time off work due to the personal data breach.
You need to provide evidence of these losses, such as bank statements and payslips.
For more information about how much compensation for a divorce data breach could be awarded, please contact an advisor on the number above.
There are several actions you can take after a divorce data breach happens. For example:
- Collect all the correspondence between you and the organisation. If a data breach can put your rights and freedoms at risk, the organisation must notify you without undue delay from when they discover the breach. This may be done via letter. You can keep a copy of this letter as evidence to show a breach occurred and what data was affected.
- Keep a record of any psychological harm via medical records, such as specialist reports from your doctor.
- Collect evidence of financial losses, such as bank statements and wage slips.
Additionally, you could submit findings from an ICO investigation. Organisations are expected to report a breach to the ICO if it puts the data subject’s rights and freedoms at risk. They must do so within 72 hours. The ICO may then investigate the breach and their findings could be used to substantiate your case. However, please keep in mind that the ICO does not award compensation.
For more information on the steps you could take following a personal data breach, contact an advisor using the number above.
If you are looking to instruct a solicitor to represent you and help you seek compensation, we could help. After cost-free assessment of your claim, you could be connected with one of the solicitors from our panel, provided you have a valid case. They can provide expert services under a type of No Win No Fee agreement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), the terms of which can typically mean:
- No upfront fees for the solicitor to begin carrying out any work on your case.
- No fees to pay for the solicitor’s continued work as the claim develops.
- If the claim fails, you won’t be required to pay for the work completed on your case by your solicitor.
If your data breach claim has a positive conclusion, a small and legally limited percentage is deducted from your compensation as the solicitor’s success fee. However, the cap on the percentage ensures you keep the majority of your settlement.
For more information regarding your potential divorce data breach claim, please contact an advisor using the contact details below:
For more of our guides:
- Learn how to claim if you suffered damage following a text message data breach.
- Find out what steps you could take if your mental health problems become worse after a data breach.
- Discover how to claim for a breach of criminal offence data that caused you emotional and/or financial damage.
For more external resources:
- Read how to make a complaint to the ICO.
- Information for individuals and families about data breaches from the National Cyber Security Centre.
- Helpful tips for staying safe online from GOV.UK.
If you have any other questions about claiming for a divorce data breach, please contact our team of advisors via the contact details listed above.