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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Recent cases seem to indicate that nominal damages of £1 allows

Resolved Question:

Recent cases seem to indicate that nominal damages of £1 allows for compensation for distress. What do I need to show to get a nominal £1 damages? Ico has indicated a breach of data protection, but company refuses to compensate because they say there is no damage.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alice H replied 3 years ago.
My name is***** and I'm happy to help with your question today.

The Data Protection Act 1998 does not define what is meant by unwarranted and substantial damage or distress.

However, the ICO, has determined in most cases that:

-substantial damage would be financial loss or physical harm; and

-substantial distress would be a level of upset, or emotional or mental pain, that goes beyond annoyance or irritation, strong dislike, or a feeling that the processing is morally abhorrent.

There is no further definition of substantial distress either in statute or case law.

An Oxford dictionary definition of 'distress' which can be applied:

1.
Great pain, anxiety, or sorrow; acute physical or mental suffering; affliction; trouble.
2.
a state of extreme necessity or misfortune.
3.
the state of a ship or airplane requiring immediate assistance, as when on fire in transit.
4.
that which causes pain, suffering, trouble, danger, etc.
5.
liability or exposure to pain, suffering, trouble, etc.; danger: a damsel in distress

Alex
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