Mr Matthew McConville, the Head of our specialised Data Breach Department at Irvings Law has successfully represented Mr R (whom wishes to remain anonymous for the purposes of this blog) in his data breach compensation claim against Durham County Council after they sent his council tax bill to an incorrect address.
In October 2019, Mr R notified Durham County Council that he had moved to a new address. Durham County Council’s council tax team processed this and issued a council tax bill to Mr R’s new address. However, a revised council tax bill was then produced but this was sent to Mr R’s old address rather than his new one. Within the said bill, Mr’s name, account reference number, that he was entitled to a single person discount and the amount of council tax payable with dates on which direct debit payments would be taken was disclosed.
When Mr R found out about this, he approached specialist Data Protection Solicitor, Mr McConville and without hesitation no win, no fee terms were offered. Once instructed, Mr McConville lodged a complaint to Durham County Council whom accepted that a breach had occurred “due to an error on our behalf” and offered their “sincere apologies for any inconvenience or distress this matter has caused you”. After this , Mr McConville then lodged a formal Letter of Claim to Durham County Council and alleged that they had breached / invaded Mr R’s privacy under the Human Rights Act, had breached the Data Protection Act 2018 / the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) as well as confidence following their misuse of private information pertaining to Mr R.
Upon receipt of this, Durham County Council accepted liability but argued that the breach was so insignificant to Mr R in terms of information breached and the effect of it. As no offers of settlement were entertained by Durham County Council, Mr McConville advised Mr R to issue and serve Court proceedings. Finally, Durham County Council changed their stance shortly before any Court hearing and settled Mr R’s claim for £1,000.00 plus his legal costs.