Anonymous v the Official Receiver

My firm pursues an ongoing claim for damages on behalf of A against the Official Receiver for negligent publication of A’s personal details.

This is an especially sensitive case because A is a person within the Police witness protection programme and has to live under an assumed name because of risk to A’s life posed by individuals against whom A gave evidence in criminal proceedings.

In 2011 A became bankrupt and the Court ordered “The bankrupts address shall not be disclosed save to the Official Receiver or any Trustee subsequently instructed”.

Unfortunately the Official Receiver and his staff then allowed details of A’s bankruptcy to be published in the London Gazette containing A’s assumed name, real name and address.

This publication put A at immediate risk. A was contacted by the Police and informed that A had 2 hours in which to gather belongings together as A was being moved for A own safety.

In the ordinary course of life if a person decides to move home, there is time to plan that move and to arrange of personal belongings to be boxed/bagged up and to be safely transported. The circumstances of A’s urgent moved prevented this from happening. There was no planning, just a sudden and unexpected need to move in what were very distressing and stressful circumstances.

2 hours after being given the notification, A was visited at home by plain clothed Police Officers who took A to a place of safety. A was only able to bring 1 packed holdall and some toiletries. This sudden and dramatic move caused A to be physically relocated in another part of the country and emotionally uprooted from a home where A had lived for over 12 years and where A had a strong network of friends and work colleagues.

Not only did A’s physical location have to be changed, A’s name also had to be changed. As far as A’s former friends were concerned, A simple disappeared over night.

The Official Receiver has admitted liability in negligence for this shocking publication of A’s personal details, and the case is ongoing in relation to the assessment of an appropriate level of damages.