High Court rules that Sussex Police’s unlawful disclosure put vulnerable client at “greater risk”

Following judicial review proceedings brought by MG&Co, the High Court has ruled that Sussex Police unlawfully disclosed our teenage client’s vulnerability to child exploitation to a Business Crime Reduction Partnership.

The Honourable Mrs Justice Lieven ruled that the disclosure breached the Claimant’s rights under the Data Protection Act 2018 and put the Claimant at “greater risk”.

Mrs Justice Lieven found that there is no evidence that Sussex Police “properly weighed up the impact on the Claimant of sharing this information, or whether there were sufficient safeguards … against onward transmission”.

Whilst the Court ruled that the underlying Information Sharing Agreement between Sussex Police and the BCRP did not breach the Data Protection Act, the judgment observed that the safeguards protecting personal information could nevertheless be improved.

The Claimant’s Solicitor, Rachel Etheridge said,

“This is a very concerning case which is reflected by the Court’s finding that Sussex Police’s disclosure of our client’s vulnerabilities exposed her to greater risk. The judgment sets down an important marker to state bodies about the need to ensure that children’s sensitive personal data – particularly that which relates to their vulnerabilities – is adequately safeguarded”.

Rachel Etheridge of Matthew Gold & Company and Eric Metcalfe of Monckton Chambers acted for the Claimant.

The judgment can be read here https://files.monckton.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/17121729/EM-M-v-Chief-Constable-of-Sussex-Police.pdf and there is more information on Monckton Chambers’ website.