Friday, 8 March 2013

UK: England and Wales: duties of care and credit reference agencies

The Court of Appeal gave judgment last month in Smeaton v Equifax Plc [2013] EWCA Civ 108. This is an important decision on the liability of credit reference agencies. At first instance the trial judge held that credit reference agencies owed a tortious duty of care to consumers at common law that was co-extensive with the duties arising under data protection legislation (see [2012] EWHC 2322 (QB)). The trial judge also held that credit reference agencies assumed responsibility towards every member of the public by choosing to operate as credit reference agencies. The Court of Appeal rejected these findings and held that a co-extensive duty of care was not owed for several reasons including the finding that its imposition would not be fair, just or reasonable.

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