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Supreme Court to hear Appeal in Vidal-Hall v Google

The Supreme Court has granted Google permission to appeal in part in Vidal-Hall v Google.

Permission was given only in relation to the issue of whether damages can be awarded under section 13(2) of the Data Protection Act 1998 for distress where no pecuniary damage has occurred. The issue as to whether misuse of private information is a tort will not be appealed and the claim against Google on this point can proceed regardless of this appeal.

The Court of Appeal found in March that on the data protection issue such an award for distress could be made. It was held that it was not possible to interpret section 13(2) of the DPA - which requires a claimant to suffer "damage" (which has been held to mean pecuniary damage) as a consequence of a breach of the Act before compensation can also be awarded for distress - compatibly with Article 23 of the Data Protection Directive. It was therefore held that section 13(2) should be disapplied as it conflicts with the rights guaranteed by Articles 7 (right to private and family life) and 8 (right to protection of personal data) of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

An ACK case report on the Court of Appeal decision on this case here.

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