England ‘clearly’ the right forum for privacy and data protection claims against Google Inc, says Tugendhat

By Kate Macmillen

The High Court in England is allowing British residents to sue Google in England for misuse of private information and breach of its duties under the Data Protection Act 1998.

In the important decision this month (Vidal-Hall & Others and Google Inc), highly experienced privacy judge Mr Justice Tugendhat rejected Google’s argument that the English court had no jurisdiction to try the claims. He ruled that the main focus of the case was likely to be on the damage each claimant claimed to have suffered.

The claimants were individuals resident in England, he said, ‘for whom bringing proceedings in the US would be likely to be very burdensome’. There were serious issues to be tried and the claimants had clearly established that England was the appropriate jurisdiction. The issues of law raised by Google were complicated ones and in a developing area of law. It was, he said, ‘better for all parties that the issues of English law be resolved by an English court, with the usual right of appeal, which would not be available if the issues were resolved by an American court deciding English law as a question of fact’…

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