In the recent case of AB v Ministry of Justice, the claimant made a number of data subject access requests to the Ministry of Justice which were not responded to within the time limits specified in the Act. The claimant could not prove that he had suffered financial damage, except for time and expense in pursuing the Ministry of Justice; he did not quantify this. The High Court was satisfied that the claimant had suffered damage but awarded him nominal damages of £1. As ‘damage’ (and the court has interpreted this as being ‘pecuniary damage’ which can be of a nominal sum) is the trigger for an award of compensation for distress, the court went on to award the claimant £2,500 for distress caused by the delays.
Businesses need to keep up to date with how the courts are dealing with civil claims. Whereas in the past, compensation claims were extremely difficult to get off the ground, the tide is turning.