Could I Claim If A Court Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address?

By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 19th January 2024. This guide is part of our series on personal data breach claims. In particular, we look at the eligibility to claim compensation if a court sent a letter to the wrong address. 

In the guide, you will find explanations of data protection laws and who has obligations under this legislation concerning the handling, processing and storage of your personal data. 

We have outlined some possible scenarios detailing the impact a court letter being sent to the wrong address could have on you, as well as the possible data breach compensation that could be awarded for the harm caused following a successful claim. 

In section 5, we explore the No Win No Fee Agreement you could be offered by our solicitors and the advantages it could offer you when you start a claim on this basis.

You can talk to our advisors to get answers to your questions, more guidance on the claims process and to take advantage of a free assessment of your circumstances with the view to making a claim. Get in touch using the contact details here:

  • Call our team on 0800 073 8801.
  • Use our online “contact us” form.
  • See the live chat function at the bottom of the screen.

court sent letter to wrong address

Select A Section

  1. Could You Claim If A Court Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address?
  2. How Could A Court Data Breach Impact You?
  3. Evidence To Show How You Were Impacted
  4. Valuing Breach Claims Where A Court Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address
  5. Could I Claim Through A No Win No Fee Agreement?
  6. Where Could I Read More?

Could You Claim If A Court Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address?

A personal data breach is a security incident that affects the integrity, confidentiality or availability of personal data, per the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) website. The ICO is the public body established to govern the protection of data.

We refer to the following parties throughout this guide:

  • Data subjects are the identifiable individuals to whom personal data relates.
  • Data controllers are the organisations that decide how and when to process your personal data.
  • Data processors are external parties who are contracted to process data on behalf of data controllers. Data controllers can also process data internally.

There are standards regarding the proper handling, storage and processing of personal data imposed upon both data controllers and processors by the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) and the UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR). Failure to comply with this legislation can lead to data breaches.

In order to claim for a data breach after a court sent a letter to the wrong address, the following eligibility criteria have to be satisfied:

  1. There were failures to uphold the standards for data protection set out by the UK GDPR and DPA on the part of the data controller or processor.
  2. Your personal data was impacted by a data breach that was caused by these failures.
  3. Because of this data breach, you suffered a psychiatric injury, financial losses or both. 

What Is The Time Limit To Claim If A Court Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address?

You will generally have one year to start a data breach claim against a public body, such as a court. 

Get in touch with our team if you have been notified of a data breach. They can provide more guidance on making a data breach claim, ensuring any action you bring is within the time limit.

How Could A Court Data Breach Impact You?

There are many ways in which a court data breach could impact you. If a court sent a letter to the wrong address, an unauthorised person could have access to your personal data, that you may not want them to know. 

For example, if you left your previous home due to an abusive relationship and the court sent a letter to this old address, your ex-partner could access this personal data about you. This could cause you to suffer various psychological consequences such as anxiety and depression.

In addition to this, a court having breached your data could also lead to you suffering financial harm. For example, if the court letter included your bank details or other personally identifiable information, a fraudster could use this to gain access to your financial accounts or commit identity fraud in your name. 

If you are eligible to make a personal injury claim, you could be compensated for the psychological harm you have suffered as well as the financial losses the breach has caused you to experience.

To discuss your specific case in more detail and receive free advice, you can contact one of our advisors.

Evidence To Show How You Were Impacted

Here we have listed some different types of evidence you could use to support your claim:

  • Communications from the court explaining that there has been a data breach where your personal data was sent to the wrong postal address
  • Medical records or letters from your doctor or treating physician showing the psychological injuries experienced from having your data breached.
  • Financial records, for example, your bank statements, that show you incurred monetary losses because your personal data was breached.

A data controller should notify the data subjects affected by a data breach as soon as possible if that breach puts their rights and freedoms at risk. Data controllers also have an obligation to inform the ICO of such a breach within 72 hours. The ICO can open an investigation into the data breach, and while the ICO cannot compensate you, you can use the findings from that investigation in your body of evidence.

You can express concerns over how a court is handling your data at any time. While it is not a necessary prerequisite for starting a data breach claim, you can complain to the ICO if you are dissatisfied with the court’s response to your concerns.

Our team of advisors can offer a free assessment of your particular circumstances. Upon deciding your potential claim is valid, one of our specialist data breach solicitors could support you with collecting evidence for your claim.

Valuing Breach Claims Where A Court Sent A Letter To The Wrong Address

Data breach compensation can be awarded for a successful claim after a court sent a letter to the wrong address. This compensation can be for the following types of damage:

  • Material damage: financial losses stemming from a data breach. 
  • Non-material damage: psychological impacts resulting from a data breach. This can include stress, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The ruling in the case of Vidal-Hall & Other v Google Inc (2015) established that data subjects can claim for psychological injuries independent of financial loss after the breach of their personal data.

Post Gulati & Others v MGN Limited (2015), solicitors can value the psychiatric injuries caused by data breaches as they would in personal injury claims, using the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG). The JCG publication lists various types of harm alongside guideline award brackets, some of which we have taken to collate the table below. Please note that the first entry has not been taken from the JCG.

Compensation Table

We emphasise that the figures in this table are guidelines, not guarantees, as data breach claims are assessed on an individual basis.

Type of Harm Severity of Harm Guideline Amount Description
Serious psychological damage and financial costs and losses combined. Serious Up to £150,000+ Combination of financial and psychological damage. Could include PTSD and the costs associated with identity fraud, for example.
General Psychological Harm Severe (a) £54,830 to £115,730 All aspects of the injured person’s life will be affected. Prognosis will be very poor.
Moderately Severe (b) £19,070 to £54,830 More optimistic prognosis than in (a) but significant problems relating to employment, and personal relationships.
Moderate (c) £5,860 to £19,070 While there will be have been problems relating to social life and employment, the injured person will have undergone marked improvement and the prognosis will be good.
Less Severe (d) £1,540 to £5,860 Award level will depend on the duration of disablity, and impact on daily life and sleep.
PTSD Severe (a) £59,860 to £100,670 Permanent effects that badly impact all aspects of injured person’s life.
Moderately Severe (b) £23,150 to £59,860 Injured persons in this bracket will have a better prognosis than above, but there will be significant disability.
Moderate (c) £8,180 to £23,150 This bracket is suitable for injured persons who have experienced large scale recovery and any continuing effects will not cause gross disablement.
Less Severe (d) £3,950 to £8,180 Virtual full recovery within two years. Minor symptoms may continue past two years.

Our advisors can offer further guidance on how data breach compensation is calculated, as well as give an estimate of the potential value of your particular claim. Talk to a team member using any of the contact details provided below. You can also see our data breach compensation FAQs guide for more information.

Could I Claim Through A No Win No Fee Agreement?

Our advisors can provide an assessment of your potential claim. If our team believes your claim is valid, they could connect you with one of our solicitors. You could then be offered a specific type of No Win No Fee contract known as a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).

By making your data breach claim under a CFA, you will enjoy a number of benefits. First of all, there are, in most cases, no upfront fees for the solicitor to start working on your case. Secondly, you will not incur ongoing fees during the claim. Finally, there will be no fees to pay following an unsuccessful claim.

After a successful data breach claim, you will receive compensation. A success fee will be taken as a percentage of this amount by the solicitor for payment of their services. Success fee percentages are subject to a legal cap, so most of the awarded compensation will be yours to keep. 

You can talk to our advisors to get answers to your questions, to get a free assessment of your circumstances or to begin a data breach claim against a court today. Get in touch via the following:

  • Call our team on 0800 073 8801.
  • Use our online “contact us” form.
  • See our live chat function at the bottom of the screen.

Where Could I Read More?

See some of our other guides on data breaches

Other resources that you may find useful

Thank you for reading this guide on when you could claim compensation after a court has sent a letter to the wrong address. For further guidance, answers to your questions and a no-cost assessment of your potential claim, talk to our advisors today. You can reach our team using the contact information provided in the above section.