Legal action against spammers

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Warning: although the small claims track is generally considered to be quite a "safe" forum to bring a claim because of its rules on costs, it is not risk-free, and a small claims track judge has the power to order a party which they consider to have behaved unreasonably to pay the other side's assessed costs. (CPR rule 27.14(2)(g)) These could run into thousands of pounds if a company has had to spend time defending your claim. There is little case law in this area to assist, but there is one case — Spearing v Jackson — in which a claimant was held to have behaved unreasonably in pursuing a claim which, the court held, he must have known did not have a realistic prospect of success.

Steps

Working out if you are eligible to take action under PECR

Gather your evidence

  • Proof of "individual subscriber" (i.e. not company emails)
  • Tracing the source of an email? (Is it worth bothering if email not obviously from a UK company, for example?) Email headers and RIPE WHOIS data

Dealing with excuses

Defence of taking reasonable care

Calculate the damage you have suffered

The Pre-Action Practice Direction and steps to take before you commence legal action

Filing your claim

Going to court