The future of data protection class actions following Lloyd v Google

Analysis by Mark Young, Louise Freeman, Fredericka Argent and Alexander Goodman of Covington & Burling.

On 10 November 2021, the UK Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of Google in a landmark judgment against Mr Richard Lloyd, a single claimant attempting to bring a representative action on behalf of a class of 4 million iPhone users relating to Google’s alleged contravention of data protection law. The Court rejected Mr Lloyd’s claim, but it did not rule out the possibility of claimants bringing representative actions in future. Although the Court raised practical challenges to bringing representative claims based on breaches of the Data Protection Act 1998, going forward claimants may attempt to bring representative actions on alternative grounds (e.g. based on the tort of misuse of private information or for breaches of the UK General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018) or using alternative methods (e.g. bifurcated actions or group litigation orders).

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