Updated Civil Procedure Rules bring extra considerations for data protection claimants this October
August 28, 2019
The Ministry of Justice have made changes to the Civil Procedure Rules (“CPR”), which will affect claims relating to privacy and data protection from 1 October 2019.
What are the Civil Procedure Rules?
The CPR is a procedural code which aims to enable the courts to deal with cases justly and in a cost effective manner. The CPR were recently updated to change the ways in which cases concerning privacy and data protection are dealt with by the courts, among other changes.1
What changes have been made to the CPR?
The updated CPR introduces a new Practice Directions (“PD”s), 53A PD, which supplements 53 PD on defamation claims.2 Additionally, the update replaces the existing Pre-Action Protocol for Defamation Claims with a new Pre-Action Protocol for Media and Communications Claims.3
Cases heard in the High Court
The new 53A PD will require that, where a judge orders proceedings are transferred to the Media and Communications List (dealing with cases on breach of data protection rights, including misuse of personal data), the proceedings will be transferred to the Royal Courts of Justice.4
Additional information in letter of claim
The new Pre-Action Protocol for Media and Communications Claims will require a claimant in a claim for breach of any data protection legislation, to specify additional information in their letter of claim. This additional information includes:
- The identity of the data subject
- The data controller to which the claim is addressed;
- The information which is claimed to constitute personal data;
- Details of the relevant processing;
- The duty or duties which are said to have been breached and how they have been breached;
- Why the data ought not to be processed;
- The nature and details of any damage caused or likely to be caused by the processing; and
- In the case of group claims, the nature of the entity bringing the claim and how it fulfils the suitability criteria.5
What does this mean for practitioners?
The changes to the CPR will be welcomed by some legal practitioners as they require more detailed information to be provided to defendants up front. It is also hoped that the requirement for additional information may disincentivise frivolous claims. The new requirement for High Court claims to be issued in the Royal Courts of Justice may be seen by some as a barrier to access to justice due to increased costs.
1 Letter from Carl Poole, Secretary to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to stakeholders (1 July 2019).
3 Terence Etherton, ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review and Pre-Action Protocol for Media and Communications Claims’ (Ministry of Justice, 30 June 2019) accessed 15 August 2019 2.
4 The Civil Procedure (Amendment No. 3) Rules 2019, SI 2019/1118, r 53.4.
5 Etherton (n 4) 5.
‘Civil Procedure Rules’ (Ministry of Justice, 6 August 2019) accessed 15 August 2019.
Etherton T, ‘109th Update - Practice Direction Amendments’ (Ministry of Justice, 30 June 2019) accessed 15 August 2019
Etherton T, ‘Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review and Pre-Action Protocol for Media and Communications Claims’ (Ministry of Justice, 30 June 2019) accessed 15 August 2019
Letter from Carl Poole, Secretary to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee to stakeholders (1 July 2019)
‘Procedure Rules’ (Ministry of Justice, 30 January 2017) accessed 15 August 2019
‘The Queen’s Bench Guide: A guide to the working practices of the Queen’s Bench Division within the Royal Courts of Justice’ (Judiciary of England and Wales, 2018) accessed 15 August 2019 108.