Ashurst probed by M&S over Rose personal data

Philip Green’s new law firm Ashurst has been served with a data protection notice to disclose personal information on the retail entrepreneur’s former friend and Marks & Spencer (M&S) chief executive Stuart Rose.

It is understood that Ashurst was just one of a slew of parties connected to Green and the bid for M&S which last week received the notices.

The notice will require the handing over of any personal information on the issuer, in this case Rose, within 40 days. Rose took the unusual step after his mobile phone records were accessed by an outsider.

The notice could be troublesome for Ashurst, which took over acting for Green after Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was famously injuncted from acting.

Under the Data Protection Act, a firm can invoke legal professional privilege, preventing it from disclosing information on any matter involving legal action.

However, the definition of ‘personal data’ was narrowed recently following the Court of Appeal ruling in Michael John Durant v Financial Services Authority. Information deemed biographical and focused must be disclosed under a notice.