Court of Appeal decides that an individual’s name can be “personal data”

27-03-2014 12:02

The Court of Appeal handed down judgment in the long running Edem v The Information Commissioner & Anr case on 7 February 2014.

The case concerned an appeal by Mr Edem against the decision of the Information Commissioner to refuse to order disclosure of the names of three individual employees working for the FSA.  Mr Edem had requested that the FSA (which no longer exists as an organisation) provide to him copies of all information held by the FSA about him and his “complaint that the FSA had failed to correctly regulate Egg PLC”.

The main issue in the appeal was whether the names of the three junior officials involved in investigating his complaint could be withheld on the grounds that the names were “persona data” and whether by disclosing the names the FSA would breach the Data Protection Act 1998. 

The Court of Appeal held that the names were personal data because the combination of the name and the information about the capacity in which they worked at the FSA meant that they could be identified from it.  It was relevant that the three individuals were not in “public-facing” roles.

For more information on data protection, please contact our commercial team.

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