Supreme Court hears landmark Google data protection case


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Richard Lloyd, the former director of Which? brought a representative action on behalf of an estimated 4.4 million iPhone users in respect of Google’s use of the ”Safari Workaround”, which permitted it to bypass Safari’s blocking of third-party cookies. This allowed Google to collect and use personal data without their knowledge or consent.

Warby J refused the representative claimant permission to serve the claim on Google LLC in the United States, outside of the jurisdiction of the English Courts, because he did not consider that the claimants had suffered ”damage” for the purpose of s.13 of the Data Protection Act 1998.  He also determined that the requirements of a representative claim were not satisfied and exercised his discretion to refuse permission for Mr Lloyd to continue as a representative claimant for the class. The Court of Appeal overturned that decision on all three grounds.

Google were granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court on all three grounds.  They argued that Warby J’s decisions should be restored.  The appeal was heard by Lord Reed, Lady Arden and Lords Sales, Leggatt and Burrows on 28 and 29 April 2021.  Judgment was reserved.

Hugh Tomlinson QC acted for Richard Lloyd.

Dan Squires QC, Aidan Wills and Tim James-Matthews represented Liberty Coram CLC and Inclusion London, intervening in appeal case.

Catrin Evans QC and Ian Helme represented techUK who also intervened.