Landmark Morrisons data leak case reaches Supreme Court

The landmark Morrisons data breach case will commence once again in the Supreme Court this week, taking place across Wednesday 6 and Thursday 7 November 2019. 

It is the supermarket giant’s second attempt to exonerate itself after being found legally responsible for a large-scale data breach, which affected more than 100,000 employees.

The case is the UK’s first data breach class action.

This latest appeal follows the October 2018 decision by the Court of Appeal to uphold the original verdict of the High Court on vicarious liability. The Court of Appeal comprised three senior judges, including the Master of the Rolls, who refused Morrisons permission to appeal further to the Supreme Court.

However, Morrisons decided to apply to the Supreme Court for permission to appeal, which was granted on 15 April 2019.

9,263 Claimants - a further 3,747 since the previous Court of Appeal case - are seeking compensation from Morrisons over the huge data leak, which in 2014 saw Andrew Skelton, a then senior internal auditor at the retailer’s Bradford headquarters, copy and then post staff’s payroll information on the internet. The payroll information included bank account details, dates of birth, salary information, NI numbers, addresses and phone numbers.

Andrew Skelton was disgruntled, having been disciplined by Morrisons following a serious allegation against him, but he retained access to sensitive employee information.

Morrisons’ employees were obliged to hand over sensitive personal and financial information and it is their case that they had every right to expect it to remain confidential. Instead, they were caused upset and distress by the copying and uploading of the information to the internet.

Morrisons has refused to accept legal responsibility for the actions of its now former employee, Mr Skelton.

Nick McAleenan, a Partner and data privacy law specialist at JMW Solicitors, is representing the Claimants, alongside Jonathan Barnes and Victoria Jolliffe, barristers at 5rb chambers.

Nick McAleenan said: “This will be Morrisons’ second attempt to exonerate itself after being found legally responsible by the High Court and the Court of Appeal for a large-scale data breach, which affected tens of thousands of its staff. The senior Justices of the Supreme Court, including the President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, will now hear Morrisons’ appeal.”


Press contact:

Emma McCallum


Notes to Editors

About JMW Solicitors LLP

JMW Solicitors LLP is one of the leading law firms in Manchester and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients. JMW also has offices in London and Liverpool.  It is committed to providing legal services in a cost effective and timely manner.

JMW specialises in data privacy law. The Data Privacy team represent a broad range of clients, from large organisations and businesses, through to celebrities, civil servants and consumers.

Nick McAleenan is a Partner at JMW Solicitors and an expert in data privacy, media, and reputation management law. Nick is recommended as “vastly experienced” by Legal 500.

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About Jonathan Barnes and Victoria Jolliffe

The Claimants are also represented by Jonathan Barnes and Victoria Jolliffe.  Jonathan and Victoria are barristers at 5rb chambers.

For more information, please visit:

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