Divorce correspondence leaked by the HMCTS
A Data Claims Case Study
Our client approached us for advice following a paperwork error from the HM Courts & Tribunal Service that meant his personal data was posted to the wrong home address. The gentleman had been going through the process of a divorce, and a human error meant that all his personal information, details of the other party and private information on the proceedings was leaked to an unknown third party.
Whilst there is lots of coverage about large scale “cyber” data breaches involving high-tech criminal hacking, the reality is that most data breaches occur as a result of human error. In this case our client’s correspondence about an ongoing court matter was sent to the wrong address, revealing personal information that should have been confidential.
Whilst there was no evidence of our client suffering a financial loss as a result of the breach, the uncertainty and distress caused by the breach meant that he was entitled to pursue further action. The court documents contained personal information that should have been kept confidential, relating to the private matters of our client and the other party. This distress, added to the administration required in rectifying this mistake, added to our client’s existing suffering.
The case was handled by Assistant Compliance Officer & Solicitor, Dawn Bowdler, with input from Data Breach Solicitor, Paul Cahill.
It is unclear the extent of the personal data accidentally released. There is a possibility that this may have included financial information, in addition to sensitive information relating to his divorce proceedings. This uncertainty of financial risk, as well as the distress caused from having an unknown party privy to his personal information, was incredibly distressing for our client. We were able to secure a settlement of £1,300, which will go some way to alleviating his suffering.
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