In January 2017 the Court of Appeal determined, in the case of Prince Moulay Hicham v Elaph Publishing Limited, that data protection claims can be brought alongside defamation claims (the "Decision").
Earlier cases have questioned the necessity and proportionality of advancing parallel claims, but the Court of Appeal has established the possibility of introducing a claim under the Data Protection Act 1988 (the "DPA") with a defamation claim or using a claim under the DPA as an alternative means of redress.
Although the DPA claim was not raised in the original letter of complaint or the original pleading, the Court of Appeal noted there was no significant delay and the application was made before the defence was served.
The Decision shows the court's increasing engagement with data protection and that it is possible to plead a remedy under the DPA 1998 in addition to a claim in libel. The Court has emphasised that the DPA provides a different cause of action and the relevant provisions of the DPA include protecting individuals from being subjected unfairly and unlawfully to distress.
Where relevant, organisations should seek to advance any associated DPA claim without delay for a strategic advantage.
The Decision can be accessed here.