Bitter blow to UK consumers as court slams door on representative action

Post in Around the web by Jen Roberts,

While representative actions are technically allowed, unworkable barrier to establish uniform harm across class leaves consumers without access to justice – prompting calls for government to now legislate to protect privacy against Big Tech

London, 10 November 2021: The Supreme Court today endorsed a system of court rules that could enable access to redress for millions of British citizens who have their rights violated. But it imposed significant hurdles on data breach cases that ruled out the Google You Owe Us campaign’s effort to give millions of British consumers the chance to group together to hold Google to account for misusing their data.

As a result, Google cannot now be forced to pay damages to the 5.4 million iPhone users that it illegally took data from in the Safari Workaround in 2011 and 2012. The ruling effectively ends the action represented by Milberg London’s James Oldnall.

Speaking of the ruling, lead claimant Richard Lloyd said:

“We are bitterly disappointed that the Supreme Court has failed to do enough to protect the public from Google and other Big Tech firms who break the law. They have overturned a very clear ruling by senior, expert judges in the Court of Appeal.

“Although the Court once again recognised that our action is the only practical way that millions of British people can get access to fair redress, they’ve slammed the door shut on this case by ruling that everyone affected must go to court individually.

“If there are few consequences for abusing our personal data then there is little incentive for companies like Google to protect consumers.

“The Government must now step in to make the system clearer and stronger by bringing in the right for groups of consumers to take action together under the Data Protection Act. The responsibility to protect our privacy, data rights and collective action is squarely back with the Government.”

Lloyd’s solicitor, and managing partner at the law firm Milberg London, James Oldnall commented: “The ruling today gives Google and rest of Big Tech the green light to continue misusing our data without consent, knowing they will go unpunished. It is a dark day when corporate greed is valued over our right to privacy.”

Google had resisted the case at every stage and ultimately avoided paying damages on technicalities.

Class members do not need to do anything.

Therium Capital Management, a leading global litigation funder, is funding the case.


Further Information

You can view the campaign’s website at

To arrange interview opportunities, or for further information, please contact:

Google You Owe Us press office
T: +441892711278| E: [email protected]

Richard Lloyd is one of the UK’s foremost consumer rights champions. He has more than 25 years’ experience of campaigning and policy-making for consumer groups, charities, housing agencies and national government.

From 2005 – 2008, Lloyd worked as Chief Executive for Consumers International – the international federation of consumer groups – which supports 250 affiliate organisations spanning 120 countries. Subsequent to this, he spent two years working at Number 10 Downing Street as a Special Advisor to the Prime Minister.

Richard was also the Executive Director of Which? (the UK Consumers’ Association) from 2011 to 2016. He oversaw numerous high profile, public campaigns backed by hundreds of thousands of people. Richard was also central to consumer interests being represented at the highest levels of UK government, most notably through the drafting of the Consumer Rights Act and a series of major investigations into the energy, banking and telecoms markets. Richard is vice-chair of the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute and a board member of three UK regulators.

Milberg London is an independent law firm focused exclusively on claimant litigation, like the Google You Owe Us claim.

Run by a team of exceptional lawyers and supported by its claim aggregation affiliate Milberg Limited, Milberg London is uniquely placed to handle cases on behalf of claimant groups against large corporate defendants.

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