What to do after a SAR?

17th September 2018 Media Law

I see on consumer forums and social media that consumers like you and I are regularly frustrated that a data controller (such as a bank, phone company, employer, doctor, Government department or another organisation that holds data) are either very slow to respond to a subject access request (SAR) or just don’t respond at all 

You can find out what a SAR is by reading JMW’s SAR FAQ’s here.

What I would like to discuss in this blog, is what you can do if a data controller doesn’t respond to your SAR or if there is an unjustified delay in responding.

People often think that the data controller doesn’t have to respond, or that there is some sort of explanation and its best to just keep chasing.

To be clear, in any circumstance, the data controller should respond within a month. Even if it is to say thank you, we have your request and it is very complex so we want to extend the response time by two months. In some circumstances a data controller can seek to extend the response time.

If you haven’t received any response within the month, you haven’t received a response after three months or you feel as though you are being ‘fobbed off’ you can talk to us.

Many people don’t realise that as a practical next step it’s possible to speak to a solicitor about the SAR.

The law governing the SAR is the General Data Protection Regulation better known as the ‘GDPR’ and the Data Protection Act 2018 (data law). The law says that if there is a delayed response or no response at all, individuals are entitled to compensation for “non-material damage” such as the distress that has been caused by not receiving a response.

If an organisation has ignored your SAR, you can of course also complain to the Information Commissioners Office and ask them to investigate.

 Talk to us

If you’d like to discuss your case further with a member of our Data Law team call 0845 872 6666.

We may be able to take your case on a no win no fee basis.


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Dominic Walker is a Solicitor located in Manchesterin our Media Law department

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