Scott v LGBT Foundation Ltd: QBD 3 Mar 2020

Disclosure of risk of self harm made no claim

The claimant complained that the respondent support group had disclosed to his doctor that fact that they had assessed him as being at significant risk of suicide or other substantial self-harm, and that it was at that time unable to provide Mr Scott with the services he sought from the LGBT Foundation because of Mr Scott’s ongoing drug use. The foundation now requested that the claim be struck out.
Held: The claim was struck out:
As to the basic character of data protection, the verbal disclosure itself did not constitute the processing of personal data.
As to the disclosure, it had been necessary in order to protect the Scott’s vital interests, and though it was indeed sensitive personal data.
As to the claim for breach of confidences, this failed: ‘ the duty of confidence which was undoubtedly owed to Mr Scott had a qualifier to confidentiality, or ‘carve out’, which permitted the very limited Disclosure to his GP.’ He had signed a form permitting just such a disclosure, and had provided his doctor’s details.
‘LGBT Foundation is not a hybrid public authority. The evidence establishes that it seeks to deliver services of public benefit and it receives some public funding, but such factors are insufficient to make an entity a public authority. Of importance is that LGBT Foundation has no statutory powers, duties or functions (not even matters being delegated to it by true public authorities), and is not in any way ‘governmental’. It is simply a charity which, like many such bodies, attracts public funding in addition to funds from other sources. The fact that it helps members of the public on health issues takes matters no further.’

Saini J
[2020] EWHC 483 (QB)
Data Protection Act 1998, Human Rights Act 1998, Data Protection Act 2018
England and Wales
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Information, Human Rights

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.648934