Citizens Advice Breach Of Data Protection – When Could You Claim Compensation?

Should a Citizens Advice UK GDPR breach occur, you may wonder if this can put your personal data at risk. 

citizens advice UK GDPR breach

Citizens Advice UK GDPR Breach Guide

But what is the UK GDPR, and how can it be breached? There are two leading pieces of legislation governing data protection law for UK residents. These are the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA). These govern the handling of personal data in both digital and physical forms. If these pieces of legislation were to be breached, it could lead to personal data being at risk of exposure. 

This guide will explain the different causes that could lead to a personal data breach and how much compensation could be awarded for a successful claim. 

Personal data covered by the UK GDPR includes your name, date of birth, email address, debit card details and passwords. It also protects a type of personal data referred to as special category data, which includes your religious beliefs and sexual orientation. Special category data requires extra protection under the above legislation.

Furthermore, Article 82 of the UK GDPR allows victims of a personal data breach to pursue compensation if they meet the eligibility criteria. We will explain these criteria further on in this article. 

Speak to one of our expert advisors about data breach compensation.  You can:

Select A Section

  1. What Could Be A Citizens Advice UK GDPR Breach?
  2. How A Personal Data Could Happen
  3. How Could You Be Impacted By A Data Breach?
  4. What Could You Do If Citizens Advice Breaches Your Data?
  5. Could You Claim Compensation For A Potential Citizens Advice UK GDPR Breach?
  6. Speak To Our Specialist Team Should A Citizens Advice UK GDPR Breach Occur

What Could Be A Citizens Advice UK GDPR Breach?

The UK has an independent body called The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), which is responsible for upholding information rights laid out by the UK GDPR and the DPA. They define a personal data breach as a security incident leading to the availability, confidentiality, or integrity of your personal data becoming compromised.

However, not every data protection breach will mean a personal data breach has occurred. Breaching the UK GDPR means that a data controller, those who decide why and how data will be processed, or a data processor, who processes data on behalf of the controller, has not adhered to data protection legislation. It does not mean personal data has been breached.

The UK GDPR also lays out the eligibility criteria for making a personal data breach claim, which include:

  • The breach has to involve your personal data
  • The breach has to be a result of the organisation’s wrongful conduct
  • As a result of the breach, you must suffer harm

Should a Citizens Advice UK GDPR breach occur, and this leads to your personal data being breached, contact our advisors today.

How A Personal Data Breach Could Happen 

Citizens Advice is an independent organisation that provides information, support and advice surrounding finances, legal support and housing. Organisations that handle personal data are usually known as data controllers or processors. Some examples of how a personal data breach could happen include:

  • Cyberattacks: In order to make a claim following a cyberattack, you must be able to prove that the attack occurred due to the organisation’s failings. For example, they may not have adequate cybersecurity systems in place.
  • Misdelivery of personal data: For example, an email containing personal data may be sent to the incorrect address, despite having the correct address on file. Similarly, a text message containing personal data could be sent to the wrong number.
  • Lost records or stolen devices: Physical records or devices that hold personal data must be kept safe. If records that contain your personal data are lost or stolen, you may be able to claim.

How Common Are Charity Organisation Data Breaches?

The ICO provides statistics on reported data security incidents during the fourth quarter of 2021/22. In the charitable and voluntary sector, there were:

  • 131 reported data security incidents
  •  38 reported cyber incidents, and 93 non-cyber

Should a Citizens Advice UK GDPR breach occur involving your personal data, contact a member of our team for advice. 

How Could You Be Impacted By A Data Breach?

Following an organisation’s discovery that a personal data breach has occurred, the ICO expresses the importance of understanding and assessing the risks. This is because it can seriously affect people’s lives and cause harm. 

Not knowing who has access to your personal data following a breach could cause you psychological injuries, such as stress, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

Furthermore, a personal data breach could place you at risk of suffering financial losses. For example, if your credit or debit card details are compromised, this could lead to criminals committing identity fraud and taking out loans in your name.

If you have suffered harm as a result of a personal data breach, contact our advisors today. 

What Could You Do If Citizens Advice Breaches Your Data?

It is important to obtain as much evidence as possible of a potential breach. If an organisation knows that your personal data has been compromised, risking your freedom and rights, they are expected to inform you without undue delay and alert the ICO within 72 hours.

However, if you have not been notified but you suspect a breach concerning your personal data has occurred, you can contact the organisation directly. If there has been a breach, they may be able to provide more information.

If you don’t receive a reply within 3 months, or if the reply is not satisfactory, then you can make a complaint to the ICO. It’s important to note that the ICO does not provide compensation. However, they may investigate the breach.

Finally, it is also recommended that you seek legal advice. Contact our advisors for more information. 

Could You Claim Compensation For A Potential Citizens Advice UK GDPR Breach?

As we have discussed above, in order to make a personal data breach claim, your case must meet specific criteria. Not all those who suffer due to a data breach will be entitled to make a personal data breach claim. Should an organisation have done all it could to adhere to data protection laws, but a breach happens anyway, then a claim is not likely.

There are two potential heads of claim that you could receive should your personal data breach claim be a success. These are:

  • Material damage: This head of the claim addresses financial losses caused by the breach.
  • Non-material damage: This head of the claim is responsible for compensating for psychological harm caused by the personal data breach. 

In the table below, we have provided compensation brackets for different psychological injuries you may receive compensation for under non-material damage. We have used the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to compile these figures. Legal professionals use this document to help them value settlements. 

Injury Details Compensation Amount Brackets
Severe Psychological Injury (a) Coping with education, work, and life will be a marked problem for the person, and the prognosis will be very poor. £54,830 – £115,730
Moderately Severe Psychological Injury (b) Coping with education, work, and life will be a significant problem for the person, but the prognosis will be much more optimistic. £19,070 – £54,830
Moderate Psychological Injury (c) While coping with education, work, and life will have been a problem for the person, there will be a marked improvement by trial. Also, the prognosis will be good. £5,860 – £19,070
Less Severe Psychological Injury (d) The person’s sleep and activities will have been affected. The award will consider how long the disability lasted and to what extent. £1,540 – £5,860
Severe Anxiety and Stress The person will be permanently affected, preventing them from working or functioning as they did before the trauma. £59,860 – £100,670
Moderately Severe Anxiety and Stress There will be similar symptoms to the bracket above; however, there will be a better prognosis for some recovery with professional assistance. £23,150 * £59,860
Moderate Anxiety and Stress The person will have largely recovered. Any continuing effects they suffer from will not be grossly disabling. £8,180 – £23,150
Less Severe Anxiety and Stress Within one to two years, the person will have made a virtually full recovery. Any persisting symptoms will be minor. £3,950 – £8,180

Please note that these figures are guidelines only. Please speak to our advisors for a free assessment of your case. 

Speak To Our Specialist Team Should A Citizens Advice UK GDPR Occur 

Our advisors can assess your claim, and if they find it may be valid, they could place you in contact with a No Win No Fee solicitor from our panel. If you choose to use a No Win No Fee solicitor with a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), you generally don’t have to pay any upfront fees. Should your claim be successful, you will pay a success fee. This is a legally-capped percentage taken from your settlement award. When claims are not successful, the claimant does not have to pay this fee. 

If you are looking for advice should a Citizens Advice UK GDPR breach occur leading to your personal data being at risk, please don’t hesitate to call our team. They are on hand to provide you with free advice. For more information:

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Thank you for reading this guide on steps you could take should a potential Citizens Advice UK GDPR breach occur.

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