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Unlimited Fines for Breaches to the Data Protection Act 1998

Changes to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) have removed the statutory cap on fines for many offences, including those under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA). This has resulted in magistrates’ courts acquiring new powers to impose “significant” fines for breaches of the DPA.

This means that magistrates’ courts now have the discretion to impose unlimited fines in respect of all convictions for summary offences, including breaches of the DPA, which were previously subject to fines capped at the statutory maximum.

Companies subject to the DPA will be aware that certain breaches of the DPA are a criminal offence triable in the magistrate’s court. Before the changes brought in by LASPO, in practice this meant that companies found guilty of one or more of these offences would face a maximum fine of £5,000 (s.60 (3) DPA). However, with the removal of this limit brought in by LASPO, companies may be faced with unlimited fines.

For further information, please contact Dominic Green on 020 7227 7411 or


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