Enforced subject access request becomes a criminal offence from 1 December 2014 - Paris Smith Skip to content

14th August 2014

Enforced subject access request becomes a criminal offence from 1 December 2014

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14th August 2014

Enforced subject access request becomes a criminal offence from 1 December 2014


This change aims to put a stop to what the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) describes as the ‘unsavoury practice’ where an individual is forced to make a data protection subject access request to obtain records (usually details of criminal convictions, cautions etc.) from either their employer or as a condition of a contract for the provision of services where this would not be allowed except under other legislation or when justified in the public interest.

In its recent newsletter, the ICO highlighted the main areas of concern about enforced subject access requests–the clear breach of an individual’s rights, the knock on consequences for employment opportunities and the undermining of policies such as the rehabilitation of offenders.

From 1 December 2014 anyone convicted of the offence will face a fine of up to £5,000 in the Magistrates’ Court or an unlimited fine in the Crown Court. The ICO has indicated that it is preparing to prosecute those involved in the practice.

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