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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
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Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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Are there lawyers that can help me with Public Law - data

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are there lawyers that can help me with Public Law - data protection human rights and breach of privacy?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I have filed a claim against a public body for DPA, Human Rights and breach of privacy. They have filed their defence with a summary judgement and strike out and I need to know what to do next. They have put forth technical issues in my claim such as not referring to specific sections of the DPA legislation, that the Human Rights claim must be brought within 12 months, but a court can use discretion to permit a longer period of time. Is there a way to stop this summary judgement or do I need to go to a hearing and convince the judge? How do I do this?

Could you explain your situation with regard to what you are claiming and why little more detail please and exactly what it is that you want to achieve?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I am claiming aggravated and exemplary damages. A vice consul at a UK Embassy abroad breached my dpa and human rights be revealing sensitive information without cause or authorization to a third party. This led to the person to whom the info was revealed, disclosing the info to third parties and they posted it on the internet, started a campaign of harassment, abuse, threats, defamation.
The Vice Consul based on info received under FOI Act reveal that he has made fallacious and spurious claims about his interaction with me, and fabricated facts that he passed to this person who passed it to others and publicized it.They have filed a defence and as I mentioned prior, want to have my claim put aside (summary judgement) because I did not make reference to specific points of the legislation of the DPA and Human Rights Act and that I have not put forth how this caused me damages. Also, the Human Rights claim must be brought within 12 months, but a court can use discretion to permit a longer period of time.I must know how to deal with this summary judgement. Will there be a hearing - how far down the road - I will have to show the judge why it must not be put aside so I can proceed to trial.Thanks!

They are applying for summary judgement on the basis that it would be wasting the court time for this to go to a trial hearing because there is no real possibility of the claim succeeding. It happens if people submit spurious claims or spurious defences that have no legal grounds.

The judge would look at the facts and decide whether there was a case to answer or not and whether it would be in the interest of justice to continue. Often, in the interest of saving court time that would be done without a hearing and the judge would make his own mind up. Even if there is a hearing, it would normally be only 15 minutes to decide whether there should be summary judgement or not. The idea of the 15 minute hearing is just to decide whether there is a case or not, not to decide the outcome.

That would be the first issue to be decided because if they get summary judgement in their favour, that is the end of it unless you appeal. Courts do not award summary judgement lightly and there really would have to be no grounds for a claim before the defendant would get that judgement.

It’s unlikely that you not referring to the specific points of the legislation would succeed because it would be easy for you to file and for the judge to order you to file an amended defence referring to the specific sections assuming that there are specific sections that you can hang the claim on.

With regard to the human rights claim, you are correct but you would have to come up with a valid reason as to why this is being brought out of time and why it should be allowed.

One piece of warning and that is that if you proceed to trial and you lose a trial for any reason, you could face tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs. If the defendant thinks that you may not have that money to pay their costs in the event your claim is not successful, they could ask for an order for Security for Costs whereby you would have to put up the money for estimated costs for the action, before it went to trial. Just be aware.

Can I clarify anything else for you?

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Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thank you. You have helped to reassure me somewhat. I do have a very very strong case with a great deal of evidence to substantiate my allegations. They have admitted to breach of the DPA, in writing and have a number of different justifications for doing so yet have not used this as their defence.How would I advise the judge why the delay with the human rights part? I do have a very valid reason.I have filed an amended claim to include the exemplary damages but the CCMCC have really made a mess of it and delayed the filing. Is it beneficial for me to get this served before the judge sees the request for summary judgement?What next steps should I take next? Just wait for the court to tell me how to proceed? I also assume it is likely to be put for mediation.Should I not worry to much about this request and feel secure that the judge will not grant this summary judgement? I can assure that there is absolutely nothing spurious about my claim. I assume they are just engaging in whatever motions are available to halt the claim.

It would be worthwhile filing the amended claim with the statutory provisions in as soon as you can.

Always agreed to mediation even if the other side won’t because it makes you look reasonable in the eyes of the court.

With regard to the delay on the human rights issue, the best reason that you can give is the truth.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Thanks!I already submitted the amended claim a month ago but it's not been filed as the CCMCC clerk keeps making errors. I received the defence yesterday so I can't really do that.Should I make a second amended claim or just wait and see what the judge decides?Should I do anything else or just wait for the court's instructions?Thank you for your help. This is no easy task as I am David against Goliath so need all the help I can get.Annie

Do make sure that you serve a copy of the amended claim (and any documents you file with the court) on the Defendant.

You can make as many amended claims as you like although you stand the risk that the defendant will claim that these continual changes prejudice their position.

Once you have filed your amended defence covering the points they have made, I would wait till the court decides which way it wants to move this forward.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, ok thank you. I will wait to hear from the court and see what the next step is and be in touch with you then.Thanks!

I’m glad to help. Good luck with this. Best wishes.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, after the defendant sends their reply (is that to Salford?) (they sent me copies by email on Monday) what is the time frame/process next. Are the documents sent to the county court in my area and then a hearing date set? Any idea how long?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, it's ok. I called the CCMCC. They told me that a summary judgement always gets a hearing even if not requested by the defendant. They told me the next step of the process.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I would like some guidance as to what is the protocol for a hearing I have coming up to answer to a request by the defendant for a summary judgement/strike out. What do I need to bring to the table? Do I just put forth a precise and simple objection with reasons why the summary judgement/strike should not be granted? Outline why I have a case and address one by one their 'facts'? My amended claim has been approved by the court and will be served next week.

Some of the documentation is dealt with in Salford yes.

What will happen is that the proceedings will normally be transferred to a defendant's local court unless the defendant is an organisation and the claimant is an individual. If it is transferred to your local court, you need to object on the grounds of inconvenience for you, as a litigant in person.

It would be up to the judge whether the application for summary judgement was done by hearing or telephone hearing or without a hearing. What happens then is it depends on the circumstances of the claim and the application. It is normal for it to be done with the hearing, but it does depend on the facts and it would only be by hearing if there is something to argue over.

You are absolutely correct in what you need to take to court to support your case and any documentation should be served on the defendant and the court.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
34;If it is transferred to your local court, you need to object on the grounds of inconvenience for you, as a litigant in person."
I think you mean if it is assigned to a court near them? CCMCC has said that the papers will be sent to my county court. The D is a public body. The D requested without a hearing but the court told me a summary judgement is always a hearing but a strike out is not, so I am a little confused. The D has provided no evidence, made false statements and seriously downplayed the extent of the claim. The case is huge and complex but they have responded with very little. My amended claim has been granted by the court and will be served on them this week. As you said before, the judge is not likely to grant a summary judgement. I shall have to sit tight and wait.Thank you for your reply.

I apologise, yes. You are the claimant and hence, normally it would be transferred to a defendant’s local court.

If the court is told you that it’s a hearing, then make sure that you attend to put your case forward. If you don’t attend, there is a chance they will get summary judgement and strike out.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, so is the CCMCC court wrong to tell me that a summary judgement always has a hearing? That it's only a strike out application that goes before a judge for a decision?

If there is a hearing, goes in front of the judge. The judge can make any order he likes including having a hearing and whether to have one or not. What is happening here, is that they always have these held at a hearing. To be honest, you’re better off having it done with a hearing because it gives you the opportunity to put your site forward.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, thanks so much. Yes. I want a hearing.
Thanks for the very helpful responses.

I am pleased to help

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, can you tell me how to quantify aggravated and exemplary damages for my hearing. I did not do this on the claim and the Defendant has brought this up in their reply. Also, since they filed for summary judgement/strike out in lieu of evidence, what happens when their request is denied? Does the court then give them time to put forth a defence and how much time?Many thanks!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, sorry, I had one more question. How can I suggest, without being blunt or offensive to the court, that the D acted maliciously and vindictively to harm me and to protect his position? He did tell deliberate lies and evidence obtained under the FOI supports this so I can prove it.Many thanks! Annie

Assuming the summary/strike out is dismissed, they would be given a reasonable amount of time to produce a defence, probably one month in line with the original timescale for dealing with a claim.

It is a basic premise of English law that damages are not punitive, however they can be in certain circumstances although against government departments, it’s debatable whether anything is punitive!

Theusual reason behind damages is to compensate someone for a wrongdoing or to put them back in the position which they would have been had the wrongdoing not occurred.

It is the quantum of your claim which is extremely difficult because you haven’t suffered a quantifiable financial or physical really comes down to the court deciding what these general damages (liquidated damages) are going to be worth.

I must emphasise once again, that there is a risk here but if your claim fails for any reason, face substantial legal costs running into thousands and more likely tens of thousands of pounds.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello, thanks!

It was my pleasure to help.