Cancer doctor wins ground-breaking data protection claim


Re: Rudd v Bridle [2019] EWHC 893 (QB)

The case discusses to what extent the claimant’s personal data was exempt from subject access provisions.

The Claimant, a consultant physician who specialises in the science of exposure to asbestos, brought a claim pursuant to section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 against John Bridle, who has spent his career working in the asbestos industry. Mr Bridle had made a complaint to the General Medical Council alleging that Dr Rudd had falsified the risks to health associated with chrysotile asbestos in expert reports. Mr Bridle also made unfounded allegations to MPs and communicated with unnamed allies in the asbestos industry about ways to discredit Dr Rudd. The Claimant sought information about the identities of the third parties who had been collaborating with Mr Bridle.

The judge found that Mr Bridle, rather than his company J&S Bridle Limited, was the data controller and that none of the claimed exemptions (Journalistic, Regulatory Activity or Litigation Privilege) applied. Mr Bridle has been ordered to comply with section 7 DPA by providing further information including descriptions of recipients of personal data, the identities of persons who had been communicating with Mr Bridle about the Claimant and any information as to the sources of the personal data.

Guy Vassall-Adams QC and Emma Foubister were involved in this case.