Hiscox cleared of offences under s. 56 DPA 1998

It appears from recent media reports that a prosecution brought by the ICO against Hiscox under s. 56 DPA 1998 collapsed last week after the ICO’s key prosecution witness fell ill. – see the FT’s coverage here and the report in Insurance Age here. The prosecution was apparently brought under s. 56 DPA(2) which makes it an offence for goods or service providers to make the provision of goods or services conditional upon the supply of convictions/cautions data. The background to the case is that it was alleged that Hiscox had required one of its policy holders, Mr Irfan Hussain, to supply convictions data about himself in the context of a claim made by Mr Hussain under his insurance policy over the loss of a £30,000 Swiss watch.According to media reports, the ICO decided not to offer any evidence against Hiscox in the jury trial before Southwark Crown Court after Mr Hussain, its principal witness, fell ill; the trial judge went on to enter not guilty verdicts on the three counts before the court.

This is a timely reminder for all of the offences provided for under s. 56, which were introduced in 2015 and notably also extend to recruitment practices (under s. 56(1)).

Anya Proops QC