Coming forward to report a serious crime takes a great deal of courage. Imagine the potential emotional distress caused if you discovered that your details were leaked during that investigation. A data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has the potential to expose you to dangerous recrimination or reprisals from those implicated in your case. In recent years they have been responsible for breaches of data that affected thousands of people. Were you one of them?
This article looks at how changes in the law can help you. Since the introduction of the General Data Prosecution Regulation (GDPR) and the changes in how compensation can be calculated, you could be owed damages for financial and emotional harm caused by a data breach.
If you have evidence that the Crown Prosecution Service failed in its legal duty to safeguard your personal information from unauthorised access or abuse, speak to us today to see how we can help.
- To start a claim for compensation today, speak to our friendly advice team on 0161 696 9685
- Write or email us at Legal Helpline
- Use the ‘live support’ option, bottom right for instant help
The CPS does vital work in bringing criminals to justice but they have a duty to protect those who come forward and help them. How they handle your private information is key to retaining anonymity and safety. If you can show that you have suffered a data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service you might find this guide useful.
Select A Section
- A Guide On Compensation Claims For A Data Breach By The Crown Prosecution Service
- What Is A Data Breach Claim Against The CPS?
- The GDPR And The Disclosure Of Material To Third Parties
- Has The CPS Suffered Any Data Protection Breaches?
- Calculating Compensation Claims For A Data Breach By The Crown Prosecution Service
- Types Of Damages Awarded For A Data Breach By The Crown Prosecution Service
- Can You Report Data Breaches By Public Bodies To The Information Commissioner?
- No Win No Fee Compensation Claims For A Data Breach By The Crown Prosecution Service
- How A Specialist Data Protection Breach Lawyers Could Help You
- How To Begin A Data Breach Claim
- Speak To A Solicitor
- FAQs People Also Ask About Data Breaches
- Where To Learn More
The Crown Prosecution Service is an independent agency responsible for prosecuting criminals in England and Wales. Breaches can arise when they fail to handle witness data carefully, for instance. Much of this data is of an extremely sensitive nature and any unauthorised disclosure of it could create enormous problems for all involved.
If this happened to you, this article can provide you with expert help on your legal rights. We look at the laws and how they can now support your rights, as well as allowing you to seek compensation for any mental or financial damage caused by data handling negligence.
Below you will see our table of suggested award amounts from the Judicial College. This gives an approximate idea of what can be awarded for:
- Mental distress
- Heightened risk of serious psychiatric illness
- The repercussions of stress
- PTSD or depression
- Suicidal tendencies and any repercussion of a data breach exposing your privacy and safety
- Fear of physical harm from reprisal attacks
The effects of having your address revealed to your attacker can only be imagined. Or for the unconvicted members of a gang to now know exactly what evidence you gave against them. These chilling mistakes could turn your life upside-down. We also examine how you can suffer real financial damage because of data breaches.
Whilst the money cannot replace the lost peace of mind or sense of security, it can help address worrying future consequences. At Legal Helpline we show you how a No Win No Fee data breach solicitor can help you. At no initial cost, they could build a case with your evidence against the CPS if they lost or divulged sensitive information that caused you harm.
Firstly, let’s define exactly what a data breach is. It can be described as an accidental or deliberate loss, alteration, destruction or unauthorised sharing of information that leads to personal damage. This can include everything from a simple human error to the activities of organised hackers and cybercriminals who sell our information online for fraudulent purposes.
It is possible for criminals online to access and use our information for personal profit. Furthermore, in recent years companies have accessed our data for unauthorised marketing purposes, resulting in a plague of spam emails, unwanted text messages and cold calls. GDPR rules came into effect in 2018 to address that. They oblige every company and organisation to handle your personal information in much more stringent ways.
The Information Commissioner’s Office
An independent body called the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has the task of enforcing GDPR rules and they do so with keen diligence. With the power to issue fines up to £17.5 million (or 4% of the companies total last year turnover), they are a formidable agency that takes data breaches very seriously.
The ICO identifies several core principles when it comes to the handling of our data:
- Is the reason for collecting the data lawful, clearly obvious and relevant?
- That the data will be collected specifically for just the stated purpose
- Data minimisation – data be collected for only what is strictly needed
- Accuracy – ensure that data is relevant and accurate.
- Storage limitation – that data is kept only for a set amount of time.
- Integrity and confidentiality (security) – that everyone at each step of the data handling process understands and adheres to these rules
- Accountability – to ensure breaches are properly admitted and dealt with
- Report any breaches within a 72 hour period to the ICO and those affected
Controllers, Processors and Third Parties
There are three main parties defined in the GDPR that control, process, store and share data. They are:
- Controllers are those in possession of our data and who set out the reasons for collecting it. This is usually consensual but does not have to be. We give our consent to data being gathered about us every time we send an email, use social media or buy something online. Specific requests for permission are much more common since GDPR came into effect.
- Processors are those who handle our data. This can mean acting on the behest of the controllers either inside the company or as a sub-contracted organisation outside of it. Many breaches can happen in the storage, transportation and cross-sharing stage and companies have a responsibility to ensure their processors are handling data properly.
- Third-parties. This refers to the recipient of the data. Data sharing is not intrinsically bad. It enables many companies to improve services and share expertise in a way that benefits us. But some third parties lack permissions and use the data outside of the pre-agreed terms and conditions.
‘Third party’ can refer to any natural or legal person, a public authority, any agency or outside body other than the data subject, the controller or their processor. It refers to anyone who is acting under the direct authority of the controller or processor and is therefore authorised to process personal data. Importantly, they are considered a ‘recipient’ of the information and must comply with the same GDPR rules as listed above.
Whilst consent is required in some cases, the processors and controllers can pass your details on without permission if the reason still falls within their original remit.
The focus of this article is how personal information clearly fell into the public realm in a way that compromised the safety of the likes of witnesses. This can happen because of:
- Failure to properly encrypt the data
- Not properly redacting the information before sharing
- Failure to lock away important information
- Data insecurely stored making it vulnerable to damage or loss
- Sending data to the wrong recipient
- Sloppy storage or transportation of paper files or email communication
- Not shutting down laptops, encrypting USB sticks, smartphones or other storage devices
- Casual and careless talk amongst colleagues or to the public involving sensitive data
- Social media posts revealing private information
It’s important to note that the ICO recognises how difficult it can be to safeguard against all these potential risks. Many data breaches are innocent accidents. It’s clearly in the interest of no one for witnesses to have their identities and information exposed to the criminals they give evidence against. Crucially, however, this merely underlines how essential it is to be careful with the data of other people and in the eyes of the ICO, human error is no excuse.
The consequences of a data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service can be devastating. In May 2018, the ICO investigated the loss of DVD’s containing interview recordings with 15 child sexual abuse victims. The videos contained material of a highly sensitive nature about the victims and attackers, as well as details that compromised police investigations about other parties under suspicion. The CPS was fined £325,000.
A loss of sensitive material such as this represents a massive blow to the victim. Because of a change in the law after the Vidal-Hall v Google case, it is now possible to seek damages independently for mental distress caused by a data breach. In the past, compensation for such harm could only be considered in conjunction with financial damage.
If you have evidence that a data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service directly caused your psychiatric injury, speak to our team today. Furthermore, if your data breach prompted financial damages to you or a loved one, you can act on their behalf as a ‘litigation friend’ and seek compensation.
We touched on it briefly above, but our compensation table below shows just how the Judicial College recognise potential award amounts for psychiatric harm. These mental impacts are real and can devastate lives.
|Psychiatric damage - severe||Extreme and lasting problems chronically affecting many areas of life.||£51,460 - £108,620|
|Psychiatric damage - moderately severe||Significant problems like stress and trouble working or sleeping.||£17,900 - £51,460|
|Psychiatric damage - less severe||The effect on daily activities and sleep will be taken into account.||Up to £5,500|
|PTSD - severe||Inability to function at work or in life as normal.||£56,180 - £94,470|
|PTSD - moderately severe||Recovery possible but disabilities for foreseeable future with prognosis of some recovery with professional help.||£21,730 - £56,180|
|PTSD - moderate||Largely recovered but some lingering and persisting symptoms, even with therapy.||£7,680 - £21,730|
|PTSD - less severe||Minor symptoms but mostly recovered within 2 years.||Up to £7,680|
A data breach that involves deeply unsavoury characters might cause a particularly severe reaction of fear and worry. The emotional toll of your attacker knowing where you live or what evidence you gave could cripple your ability to function normally, giving rise to other monetary problems.
When you decide to start a case for compensation, an appointment with a medical expert can be arranged to validate your claims of mental distress. Perhaps you are now suffering depression, PTSD or acute anxiety because of the data breach? These damages are classified as ‘non-material’ impacts and a data breach lawyer can calculate significant compensation to reflect them on your behalf.
To learn more, please get in touch with our team.
In addition to non-material damages, it’s possible to calculate the ‘material’ cost of a data breach by the Crown Prosecution service. A simple example could be that because of your fear of encountering your attacker or their associates, you may no longer feel safe going to work. This could result in you losing wages and impact your domestic arrangements.
Perhaps you are attempting to struggle with the consequences of your psychiatric harm? Counselling costs can be very expensive and with an emphasis on starting them sooner rather than later, this could pose an immediate and inescapable cost. In extreme cases, you could even need to move home and relocate completely.
All of these things add up. Your data breach solicitor understands this and can work with you to analyse the exact costs of all this on your finances and mental health. When this information is assembled in one place, it can form compelling proof of damages caused by a data breach you had no part in.
To discover what else can be included in a data breach compensation claim, please get in touch with our team.
The ICO acts as a vanguard for the data rights of the average consumer or citizen. Since GDPR rules became enshrined in law, it became clear that data breaches were happening at every level and across the board. You can see from their website that they are constantly engaged in audits or ongoing monitoring of companies that have treated our personal data in a less than careful way or downright cavalier attitude.
The ICO does not pay compensation. They do not actually need to become involved unless the breach is a major issue that many people report. You can handle your own claim for compensation against the CPS and are at liberty to do this if you feel confident with the time and complexity of a case such as this.
Most people opt for the services of a data breach solicitor, however. As you only have one opportunity at making a claim for data breach compensation, it’s essential to get it right the first time.
Data Breach By The Crown Prosecution Service – What to do, step by step
However the breach comes to your attention, there are several stages to beginning your claim. Firstly, put your concerns to the Crown Prosecution Service in writing. The ICO provide a useful template on their website.
Should you feel that the CPS has given you an unsatisfactory response to your complaint, you can ask the ICO to step in. This must take place within a three-month window since the last meaningful contact with the CPS. Anything outside of this time frame could be deemed trivial or concluded.
At this juncture, you can also begin to collect details of your material and non-material losses. It’s important that you have evidence of a breach. It’s neither ethical nor sensible to waste time on merely the suspicion of a data breach against the Crown Prosecution Service. Legitimate cases will have a paper trail of proof and collecting this together is the foundation of your successful claim.
You have six years in which to make a data breach claim, which run from the date you obtained knowledge of the breach, or 1 year if your human rights were violated. This may seem a very generous timescale but act sooner rather than later. Information can take longer to assemble than you imagine.
As mentioned, you have one opportunity to launch a claim for data breach compensation. So it’s vital that you include all the relevant details of the loss, both present and future.
Consider for a moment how a breach in data could result in your identity being used to fraudulently arrange credit. The charges and fees from the bank could continue for months after the initial fraud had been discovered. Unless you have a good case to refute these charges, you would be liable. Therefore, you need to properly calculate anticipated costs and include those in a realistic claim.
With this in mind, a data breach solicitor working in a No Win No Fee capacity can really help. Conditional Fee Agreements as they are also known, allow people to access first-class legal representation at no upfront costs.
As your case develops there are still no fees to pay and if the case fails, there are no fees to pay your data breach lawyer at all. In addition to this, the lawyer’s fee derives from a successful outcome so you know they are focused and committed to your case.
Why No Win No Fee?
No Win No Fee is a term you may have heard in connection with personal injury cases, but they are also applicable to data breach cases. The exact same premise applies. If your case is successful, you pay a small, fixed percentage to your data breach lawyer and this amount is deducted at the end, after you have received your compensation.
If your claim isn’t successful, you won’t be liable to pay any of your lawyer’s costs at all.
It’s a seamless and easy way to benefit from excellent legal advice with reduced financial risk to you. Legal Helpline can assist with all of this, so give us a call right now to see how we could work with you.
Legal Helpline can connect you with a top-quality No Win No Fee lawyer. In the past, you may have used the law firm on your local high street. Or perhaps you trawled through hours of search results online? Reviews can only help so far. It can be overwhelming trying to find the right data breach lawyer for your case.
At Legal Helpline we offer an introductory service that removes all that aggravation.
Simply call our advisors and chat through the data breach issue you have. They can assess the viability of your case and if it looks good, they can connect you with No Win No Fee lawyers who can get to work on your claim right away. All communication can be done online, over the phone or via smart devices with exactly the same level of efficiency and expertise you would expect from face to face contact. If you’d prefer to meet face-to-face, we can arrange this too.
Why not connect with a data breach lawyer who can evaluate your case properly and get the absolute maximum for your suffering? After all, you didn’t deserve to be a victim of crime. And you certainly didn’t deserve to be a victim of the carelessness of those who needed your involvement.
You can call us with any questions or queries you may have. Without doubt, it can seem daunting to take on a claim for compensation for a data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service. But if you have evidence of a breach, we’re here to guide you through the process.
To recap how to proceed:
- Put your concerns of a data breach in writing to the CPS
- If you fail to get a satisfactory response within a three month period, ask the ICO to step in
- Await the results of their enquiry and build evidence of the damage suffered – this can take a while
- Connect with a No Win No Fee lawyer to take on your CPS data protection breach claim
- Call Legal Helpline for instant, free legal advice and help on your options
Thank you for reading our guide on what to do if you fall victim to a data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service. Our team of data breach advisers are on hand right now to discuss the details of any claim you may have.
CPS data breaches are very serious and can lead to extreme situations of retaliation. It’s essential that they are held to the highest account when handling our personal data. If you have proof of a failure on their part, start a claim today by:
- Calling Legal Helpline at 0161 696 9685
- Email or write to us at Legal Helpline
- Also, you can use the ‘live support’ option, bottom right
In this section, you can find answers to some questions we often get asked about CPS data breaches.
What are my rights if my data has been breached?
You are legally entitled to ask why your data is being used, by whom and for what purposes. The ICO provides extensive information on why your data matters.
Consequences of a data breach?
Obviously, as a victim of a data breach, one of the worst aspects can be simply not knowing how badly the breach might affect you. The unauthorised disclosure of personal information can result in anything from increased spam emails to wholesale identity theft. In cases of criminal prosecution, the information is likely to be far more serious. This could easily result in increased criminality and victimhood.
What can I do if my data has been breached?
You can complain to the agency involved. If that fails to receive an acknowledgement, you can involve the ICO. You can also assemble proof of harm and work with a data breach lawyer to seek compensation from the agency that harmed you through their data breach.
What constitutes a breach of data protection
In addition to human error, hacking, malware, deficient firewall security and ransomware viruses can enable cybercriminals to exploit weaknesses and access your personal data. Once inside, they can plunder information for bank fraud or identity theft purposes. They can destroy or alter data. Some cybersecurity attacks are for no better purpose than mischief,
For more information about a CPS data breach or any kind of data infringement that led to personal damages, please refer to our guide to GDPR data breach compensation claims. Head here to learn more about bank data breach claims, or check out this article on pharmacy data breach compensation claims.
Victim support is available for data breach victims and the government offers advice on how to better protect your data. You can request to see your data from the CPS as well.
Thank you for reading our guide on what to do following a data breach by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Guide by JJW
Edited by REB