Morrisons granted Supreme Court appeal over data breach

Morrisons has been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court over a data breach which affected more than 100,000 employees.

The case brought by 5,000 former employees at the grocery retailer became the first class action lawsuit involving a data breach in UK legal history.

The grocer lost its appeal against a High Court ruling on the case in October, which left it facing the prospect of a substantial potential payout to former employees.

However, it was granted permission to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court on Monday.

The original incident stemmed from senior internal auditor Andrew Skelton leaking the personal details of 100,000 staff members in 2014, including bank account details, dates of birth, salary information, national insurance numbers, addresses and phone numbers. Skelton was jailed for eight years over the breach in 2015.

Morrisons argued that it could not be held directly or vicariously liable for the criminal misuse of the data, and that any other conclusion would be grossly unjust.

Commenting on the decision to grant permission for a further appeal, Nick McAleenan, partner and data privacy law specialist at JMW Solicitors - who is representing the Claimants in the class action - said: “While the decision to grant permission for a further appeal is of course disappointing for the claimants, we have every confidence that the right verdict will, once again, be reached - it cannot be right that there should be no legal recourse where employee information is handed in good faith to one of the largest companies in the UK and then leaked on such a large scale.”

Morrisons has been contacted for comment.

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