Case details

WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc (Appellant) v Various Claimants (Respondent)

Case ID: UKSC 2018/0213

Case summary

  1. Whether the Data Protection Act 1998 (‘the DPA’) excludes the application of vicarious liability to a breach of that Act, or for misuse of private information or breach of confidence
  2. Whether the Court of Appeal erred in concluding that the disclosure of data by the appellant’s employee occurred in the course of his employment, for which the appellant should be held vicariously liable

In November 2013, an employee of the appellant, Mr Skelton, downloaded payroll data he was entrusted with at work onto a personal USB stick and took it home. In January 2014 he uploaded the data onto a file-sharing website and later sent it to newspapers. He was motivated by a grudge against the appellant. He was arrested, convicted of a number of offences and sentenced to 8 years’ imprisonment. Over 5,500 employees, whose personal data had been disclosed, issued a claim against the appellant claiming damages for breach of the DPA and/or for the misuse of private information and/or breach of confidence either by the appellant directly, or by Mr Skelton, in respect of whose acts the appellant was alleged to be vicariously liable.

Judgment appealed

[2018] EWCA Civ 2339



WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc


Various Claimants



Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Hodge, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

06 Nov 2019

Hearing finish date

07 Nov 2019

Watch hearing
06 Nov 2019 Morning session Afternoon session
07 Nov 2019 Morning session