High Court rejects Google and DeepMind class action

The already precarious future of privacy class actions in the UK is once again called into question. By Alison Llewellyn, Katie Hewson and Michael Bywell of Stephenson Harwood LLP.

In what has been referred to by some as the “death knell” for data privacy mass actions in the UK, on 19 May 2023 the High Court struck out Prismall and his fellow 1.6 million class members’ case and ruled that summary judgment should be entered in favour of Google and its AI subsidiary, DeepMind (Andrew ­Prismall v Google UK Limited and Deepmind Technologies UK Limited).

This case [[2023] EWHC 1169 (KB)] provides further evidence of the English courts’ reticence to offer compensation to claimants when their data protection and privacy rights are infringed, unless there is clear evidence to show that substantial harm or distress has been suffered. This article sets out the background to the Prismall case and offers some thoughts and analysis on why this claim was struck out in the early stages by Mrs Justice Heather Williams DBE. We also consider where the future lies in mass actions in the data privacy space.

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