Home Office loses privacy and data protection appeal concerning former asylum seekers


Re: Secretary of State for the Home Department v TLU & Anor [2018] EWCA 2217

This case concerned Home Office’s liability for the misuse of personal information and a breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 arising from the accidental publication on a government website of a spreadsheet containing data from the Family Returns Process. The Home Office appealed the decision the trial judge who had awarded damages to the family members of a lead applicant (who was named on the spreadsheet), on the basis that the information did not ‘relate’ to these family members.

The Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the family members were referred to on the spreadsheet and the information was ‘about’ them. Accordingly, the Home Office had misused their confidential and/or personal information, which also amounted to “personal data” within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998, s 1(1). It upheld the decision of the trial judge, Mitting J, who had awarded damages of £12,500 to the wife and £2,500 to the daughter.

Sara Mansoori and Hugh Tomlinson QC were involved in this case.