Mr Matthew McConville, the Head of our specialised Data Breach Department at Irvings Law has successfully represented a client in a data breach compensation claim against Medway Council. Mr McConville’s client does not wish to be named so for the purposes of this case report will be referred to as ‘Mr C’.
During a conversation with his landlord, Mr C became aware that his landlord had contacted Medway Council (in particular their Benefits Team) to ascertain information about Mr C’s DHP claim and his Housing Benefit award.
Mr C’s landlord advised him that Medway Council had disclosed information to him which included information about Mr C’s benefits entitlement including details of his Universal Credit, Discretionary Housing Payments/DHP, Details of Personal Independence Payments and referenced a letter which referred to Mr C’s mental health. In addition, the landlord confirmed that Medway Council disclosed information to him in regards to a police incident in 2008 in which Mr C was a victim of malicious rape allegations made by a previous partner. Medway Council were aware of this information as Mr C had provided evidence of this when he made his Benefit applications to them.
Following the above conversation with his landlord, Mr C raised a formal data breach complaint to Medway Council. In response, Medway Council confirmed that the information was disclosed without consent and the ICO too confirmed that they had infringed Mr C’s data protection rights whereby they were reminded of their information security obligations.
Wanting further recourse, Mr C contacted Mr McConville for expert assistance and he, without hesitation, offered to act for him on a no win, no fee basis and once instructed, Mr McConville lodged a Letter of Claim as Medway Council inherently failed to adequately keep Mr C’s personal information secure and confidential which resulted in details of Mr C’s personal and sensitive information being disclosed to his landlord without his knowledge and consent.
Specifically, Mr McConville alleged that Medway Council had breached / invaded Mr C’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 C. In response, Medway Council attempted to suggest that Mr C had given them consent to disclose such information to which was strongly challenged by Mr McConville.
After Mr McConville threatened the issuing of Court proceedings, Medway Council soon changed their position and instead wished to resolve matters with Mr C. After tough negotiations from Mr McConville, Mr C settled his claim against Medway Council for £13,440.00 without Court proceedings needing to be served.