Citizens Advice Data Breach – Could You Claim Compensation?

Citizens Advice data breach claim guide

Citizens Advice Data Breach – Could You Claim Compensation?

Throughout this guide, we will look at the steps you could take if a potential Citizens Advice data breach occurred involving your personal data.

Both the Data Protection Act 2018 and UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) are the two main pieces of data protection legislation protecting the personal data of UK residents. They give you, the data subject, more control over your personal data being processed and provide rules and regulations for those who handle such data.

As you will see as you go through the guide, data breaches can be caused by accidental human error or deliberate intent actions. Speak with our team to see if your data has been breached:

Select A Section

  1. How Could A Potential Citizens Advice Data Breach Occur?
  2. Who Could You Claim Against After A Data Breach?
  3. What Evidence Could Support Your Claim?
  4. What Data Could Be Involved If A Citizens Advice Data Breach Occurred?
  5. How To Calculate Data Breach Compensation
  6. Talk To Our Team Should A Citizens Advice Data Breach Happen

How Could A Potential Citizens Advice Data Breach Occur?

Citizens Advice is an independent organisation that offers confidential information and guidance to the public in the areas of:

  • Legal matters
  • Debt management
  • Housing issues
  • Consumer rights

Because of this, they may request and retain a wide array of personal information ranging from basic details to health, criminal or social security data. This could, in turn, make them a data controller.

Data Controllers set the means and purpose for processing your personal data, sometimes they may even outsource their processing to data processors. Both these entities must protect your personal data in accordance with data protection laws.

A data controller must satisfy at least one of the six lawful bases of processing. In addition to this, data must be processed by them according to ‘7 Core Principles:

  • Data is collected in a legal, fair and clear way
  • Gathered for a specific reason
  • Limited in the amount collected
  • Accurate
  • Kept for a limited period only
  • Kept secure
  • With everyone taking personal responsibility to protect the integrity and confidentiality of the data.

An independent body called the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) protects the data rights of the public. It has the power to investigate and fine any agency that fails to apply correct data protection procedures.

If a Citizens Advice data protection breach occurred that affects your rights and freedoms, they have a duty to notify you of this without undue delay. For more information on this, see further down in this guide,

Who Could You Claim Against After A Data Breach?

Data breach victims under Article 82 have the right to bring forward a personal data breach claim against a data controller or processor if they can satisfy the criteria laid out in this part of the UK GDPR. This means proving that:

  • The data controller or processor failed to correctly apply data protection laws.
  • This failure in adherence led to a data breach that included your personal data, and
  • As a result, you suffered mental and/or financial harm.

 How Common Are Data Breaches?

Below are some statistics provided by the ICO that show data security incidents across all sectors from the fiscal second quarter of 2019/20 to the fiscal second quarter of 2021/22:

Overall there were 32,541data security incidents, of which 25,914 were caused by human error, and 6,627 were caused by cyber means.

Data breach claims can be complex, and there is a 6-year time limit to be aware of. This can reduce to just one-year for claims against public bodies. Call our advisors today for free legal advice. They can provide you with a free case assessment with no obligation to begin a claim.

What Evidence Could Support Your Claim?

Vital to a data breach claim is the ability to show those responsible for your personal data failed to protect it accordingly. To establish this, there are some useful actions that you can take to underpin your claim, such as:

  • Raising a complaint with those who had control of your personal data. Please note that if a data breach has occurred that affects your rights, the data controller must report this in a 72-hour period to the ICO and inform you without undue delay.
  • If you fail to receive a satisfactory response, you can elevate your concern with the ICO. They do not pay compensation, but any subsequent findings could help your claim.
  • Start to collect and keep any of the documents that support your claim for financial loss.
  • Also, you can access your medical records to prove that you suffered psychiatric damage since or during the data breach issue.

Our advisors are on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide free advice should a Citizens Advice data breach occur and involve your personal data.

What Data Could Be Involved If A Citizens Advice Data Breach Occurred?

Personal data is any piece of information that could reveal to others who you are either independently or when used alongside other details. Citizens Advice will need to process some of your personal data in order to offer and provide you with the correct services.

Personal data can include:

  • Your name and address
  • Email address and contact number
  • Date of birth
  • Bank details
  • Criminal offence data
  • Health data
  • Racial and ethnic background
  • Biometric and genetic data

How To Calculate Data Breach Compensation

There are two heads of loss that can be claimed for in a successful personal data breach claim:

Non-material damage is the psychiatric harm the data breach caused.

The Vidal-Hall and Others v Google Inc 2015 Court of Appeal ruling means that non-martial damage can be considered independently of material damage.

We have used the Judicial College compensation bracket guidelines in the table below, as these are used by legal professionals when valuing injuries and illnesses.

Edit
Psychiatric/Psychologic Condition JC Guidelines Award Bracket & Severity Supporting Notes
General Psychological & Psychiatric Injury £54,830 to £115,730 – (a) Severe Levels Mental health issues that affect employment, family life and relationships and also social life with a very poor prognosis
General Psychological & Psychiatric Injury £19,070 to £54,830 – (b) Moderately Severe Degree Similar issues to the bracket above but with a more favourable prognosis
General Psychological & Psychiatric Injury £5,860 to £19,070 – (c) Moderate Degrees Issues will have seen an improvement by the time that a claim may be heard at trial
General Psychological & Psychiatric Injury £1,540 to £5,860 – (d) Less Severe Issues Reflective of how long the illness is and the impact it has on daily life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) £59,860 to £100,670 – (a) Severe Issues Severe and far-reaching trauma impacts in all areas of life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) £23,150 to £59,860 – (b) Moderately Severe Issues The clamant is impacted similar to the above category however improvements are seen after professional counselling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) £8,180 to £23,150 – (c) Moderate Issues Symptoms that are largely recovered from with only minor issues persisting.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) £3,950 to £8,180 – (d) Less Severe Issues Indicative of a near full recovery within a 12 – 24 month period leaving only negligible issues beyond this date.

Please note, however, that these are not guaranteed amounts, only guidelines.

Material damage is the money lost due to the data breach. This needs documented evidence like bank statements or receipts to show:

  • Money stolen from your bank
  • Credit card fraud committed in your name
  • Damage to credit score

Speak with our advisors to see what you could claim if your personal data breach claim was successful.

Talk To Our Team Should A Citizens Advice Data Breach Happen

Anyone can launch a claim on their own, but it might become complicated as it goes on. With this in mind, a legal professional could offer help on a No Win No Fee basis.

A data breach solicitor could help you under a No Win No Fee agreement. You may be asked to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement, which is a type of No Win No Fee funding arrangement. Usually, this requires no fees upfront for the solicitor to start work on your case. If the case were to fail, then you would not have to pay anything to your solicitor for their service. Should your personal data breach claim be successful, your solicitor would deduct a success fee, capped by law, from the payout.

Resources

Here we have provided some of our other guides on data breach claims:

Here we have provided some external links regarding data protection:

Our advisors are always on hand to offer free advice should a Citizens Advice data breach take place and involve your personal data.

Article by EA

Publisher EC.