Citizens Advice Data Breach – Could I Make A Compensation Claim?

Citizens Advice data breach claims guide

Citizens Advice data breach claims guide

Should a Citizens Advice data breach occur, you may be concerned about the safety of your personal data.

Citizens Advice is a charity that provides the public with advisory services on consumer rights, workplace rights, personal finance and more. Furthermore, they offer online resources, telephone, email and face-to-face services.

If a data breach were to occur, the incident could reveal their clients’ personal data or expose personal employee data. Usually, those that will say how and why personal data is to be processed are known as data controllers, and sometimes controllers will outsource their processing to a data processor. Those who are in charge of personal data will have a legal obligation to ensure that they take the necessary steps to protect it. Failure to do so could lead to the said data being breached.

Please read on to learn more about claiming compensation for the harm you may have suffered if the failure of an organisation in protecting your personal data accordingly led to a data breach.

Additionally, get in touch with our advisors at Accident Claims UK today to ask any questions you may have about making a personal data breach claim. If our advisors find that you could have a valid claim for compensation, they may connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors.

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What Could A Citizens Advice Data Breach Be?

A personal data breach could occur for a variety of reasons; some are accidental, while others are deliberate. If the data controller or data processor does not comply with data protection laws, this can put personal data at risk. However, data breaches can also happen even when all action has been taken to protect your personal data.

A data controller is often an organisation in control over the purposes and means of processing personal data. Therefore, a data processor acts on behalf of the relevant controller and processes the personal data. These definitions are informed by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), a public body in the UK responsible for upholding data protection rights.

The UK General Data Protection Regulation (UK GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) are the key pieces of data protection legislation governing the use and storage of physical and digital personal data. Organisations must take measures to protect personal data under the UK GDPR.

Below are some examples of security measures data controllers could have in place:

  • Firstly, organisations could train their staff in the correct ways to handle personal data.
  • Secondly, a secure location to store physical data should be provided.
  • Finally, organisations should have security systems that meet the correct standard to defend their databases against cyber attacks.

What happens if a data controller does not take the appropriate measures to prevent a personal data breach and an incident occurs? The victims whose personal data has been breached could potentially be harmed.

Should a Citizens Advice data breach occur, and your personal data is involved, our advisors can answer any questions you may have about the potential to make a claim.

How Could A Citizens Advice Data Breach Occur?

What could cause a potential Citizens Advice data breach?

A personal data breach could happen due to accidental causes, such as human error, or unlawful causes, such as a cyber attack by a criminal organisation.

Below we have provided various examples of how a personal data breach could occur:

  • A letter containing personal data may be sent to the wrong postal address. Therefore, breaching a client’s personal data.
  • A case study maybe published, but there was a failure to redact personal information.
  • Criminals may access personal information on a database illegally if the cyber defence systems are not updated.
  • Someone could store physical data in an unsecured location, leading to a lost files breach of data protection.

If a personal data breach caused by a failure to adhere to data protection laws has caused you harm, you may be eligible to claim compensation. Please call Accident Claims UK to see if you could have a valid claim.

Voluntary And Charity Sector Data Security Incidents

If an organisation discovers a data breach which could affect your rights and freedoms, the organisation must inform you without undue delay and report the breach to the ICO. The ICO publishes data security incident trends reported quarterly as per the financial year. Here are some key statistics for the charitable and voluntary sector in Q4 2021/22:

  • There were a total of 131 security incidents.
  • 93 of these incidents were not cyber security incidents.
  • 38 of these incidents were cyber security incidents.

What Do You Need To Show To Claim For A Personal Data Breach?

To make a data breach claim, you will have to supply evidence to prove the following criteria:

  • Firstly, a data controller or processor failed to comply with the UK’s data protection laws, which caused a data breach to occur.
  • Secondly, your personal data was involved in the breach.
  • Thirdly, the data breach caused you psychiatric harm, such as anxiety or depression, or financial losses.

Under Article 82 of the UK GDPR, there are two potential heads of claim. These are:

  • Material damage – compensating for financial losses incurred because of the data breach. For example, criminals may have used your personal data to target you for identity theft. Therefore, you may have lost money or suffered damage to your credit score. It is important to note that you must keep evidence of any material damage, such as bank records.
  • Non-material damage – compensating for the psychological injuries you experienced due to the personal data breach.

How Long After A Personal Data Breach Could I Claim?

It is important to know the relevant time limit for beginning a data breach claim. The time limit varies depending on the nature of the claim, as such:

  • You generally have 6 years to start a claim.
  • However, if you are claiming against a public body, this is reduced to just 1 year to begin the personal data breach claim.

For more advice on the time limits for making a personal data breach claim, contact our team of advisors at Accident Claims UK. They could offer insight into whether your claim is within the relevant time limit.

Calculating Settlements For Data Breaches

We have included the table below that you could use as a data breach compensation calculator, but only for one head of the claim – non-material damage.

The compensation amounts are based on 16th edition Judicial College guidelines (JCG), updated for 2022. Data breach solicitors use the JCG to assist them in valuing settlements.

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The Injury Severity Compensation Amounts Notes On The Injury
Psychiatric Damage Severe (a) £54,830 to £115,730 The individual will face marked problems coping with work or education, as well as with relationships.
Psychiatric Damage Moderately Severe (b) £19,070 to £54,830 There may be similar effects on daily life as above. However, there is a much more optimistic recovery prognosis.
Psychiatric Damage Moderate (c) £5,860 to £19,070 The person will make a marked improvement by the time the case reaches trial.
Psychiatric Damage Less Severe (d) £1,540 to £5,860 Damages take account of how long the injury lasted and to what extent the person suffered.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Severe (a) £59,860 to £100,670 The person may be left permanently suffering negative effects impacting all aspects of their life.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderately Severe (b) £23,150 to £59,860 The severity may be similar to the bracket above. However, there will be a better prognosis with professional help.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Moderate (c) £8,180 to £23,150 The person will largely recover. Remaining issues will not be grossly disabling.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Less Severe (d) £3,950 to £8,180 In 1 – 2 years, the person should virtually fully recover.

When making a data breach claim, different factors can influence how much your claim is worth. Therefore, consider the figures in the table as a guide. Also, speak to an advisor to make an enquiry into how compensation for a data breach is calculated.

Could I Claim For A Citizens Advice Data Breach With A No Win No Fee Solicitor?

If a Citizens Advice data breach occurs and your personal data is affected, you can call Accident Claims UK, where our advisors can offer free legal advice.

When making a personal data breach claim, you may want the help of a No Win No Fee solicitor. Very often, a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), a type of No Win No Fee Agreement, will be used. This means that you will not pay upfront or ongoing fees for their services. Moreover, an unsuccessful claim will mean you do not make any payments for the services of a solicitor.

On the other hand, a successful claim will mean a solicitor will take a small percentage of the compensation, known as a ‘success fee’. The amount that can be taken is capped by law.

To see if you could be eligible to make a data breach claim, please:

  • Call 0800 073 8801 to speak with a claims advisor
  • Contact us online to request a callback
  • Or write to us using the live support feature on the page

References

These guides from our website could prove helpful for learning more about making a data breach claim:

What Are My Rights After A University Data Breach?

Can You Sue A Company For A Data Breach?

What Are My Rights After A School Data Breach?

Below are some external links for further reading:

Data protection – Find out what data an organisation has about you – A GOV guide

How to access information from a public body – an ICO guide

Data protection in charity fundraising practices – an ICO guide

Thank you for taking the time to read this guide on what you could do should a potential Citizens Advice data breach occur.