Data Theft (Dispute Resolution)

Data Theft

A company's confidential data (whether it be a database of client information, key financial information or trade secrets) is often one of its most valuable assets. It gives the company the competitive edge in the market. Yet its misappropriation and misuse can provide a competitor with a significant and unfair advantage. Confidential data can be extremely vulnerable to theft and misuse.

Job insecurity and redundancies in recent years have led to a significant number of employees stealing confidential information before leaving their employer. Equally, as the economy starts to recover, so does the risk of wrongdoing by employees who choose to hop from organisation to organisation or set up in competition using stolen confidential information. As employees migrate, businesses need to stop confidential data going with them.

Businesses need to know how to protect themselves - how to recover their data and how to prevent the unlawful use of it.

Why we are different

Our team of Data Theft specialists has 15 years' experience advising on and litigating large and high profile data theft cases, and is made up of experts from our fraud litigation and employment Departments. We act for large corporate clients as well as small businesses and individuals across numerous sectors including Recruitment, Real Estate, Construction and Finance and Banking.

We regularly obtain the most powerful Court Orders available to protect our clients' businesses. Once data has been stolen, it is imperative that you move quickly to minimise losses to your company and to ensure that key evidence is preserved. We act fast - depending on the circumstances and scale of the problem, injunctions can be obtained in hours, days or weeks.

Obtaining injunctions can be a complex and high risk process. At Mishcon de Reya we are risk managers with a strong understanding of when to take it and when to minimise it. We have many years of experience in all types of injunctions, including:

Search orders

These injunctions allow us to enter and conduct a search of the Defendant's premises (business and / or home) to seize evidence. Mishcon de Reya has more expertise in this area than any other firm in the UK.

Immediate delivery up order

This type of injunction forces the Defendant to immediately give back all stolen material including hard copy confidential information and often copies of computers and other electronic devices such as mobile phones to the Claimant's solicitors.

Freezing orders

Where there is a risk of the Defendant dissipating his assets in the face of a legal claim, we can help you to ensure that the Defendant's assets (e.g. bank accounts, properties, cars, shares, etc.) are frozen. This helps guarantee that any damages awarded are recoverable.

We maintain a commercial and realistic approach to what you can achieve and always advise clients on the best course of action for their particular set of circumstances. Whether this involves court action or not, we will always offer clear timescales and cost estimates. We are focussed on achieving a return on investment for our clients.


Prosecuting data theft is only one side of the coin. The best approach is to take proactive preventative steps. We work with clients to protect their businesses, by ensuring employees are clear on what they can and cannot do when they leave employment and by having effective contracts that are tailored to the business. This will ensure that, if enforcement becomes necessary, your business is ahead of the game.

Are you at RISK? ›

Consider the issues below to gauge how well your business is protected.

  • What measures are in place to prevent data theft by employees? How would you detect it if your data was stolen?
  • How secure are your IT systems?
  • Do your contracts of employment contain a definition of confidential information and restrictive covenants and, if so, are they specifically tailored to your business?
  • Do you regularly seek to enforce your contracts?
  • Does your company handbook contain policies dealing with the use of social networking sites by employees?
  • Are you aware of the technological steps you can take to protect your assets?
  • Have you experienced data theft in your organisation in the last two years? What did you do? Have you implemented any lessons learnt?
  • Does your company have a high staff turnover? Is it a high volume, low margin business?
  • Are employees aware of, and regularly reminded of, their duties of confidentiality?
  • Does your business suffer from a culture in which data theft is tolerated ("these are my contacts not yours") and restrictive covenants are seen to be unenforceable?

If you would like to discuss how to protect your business, and ensure your contracts and policies are giving you the competitive edge, please contact a member of our Data Theft team.



  • Drafting post termination restrictive covenants
  • Non poaching clauses
  • Advice regarding team moves
  • Database policies
  • Email and Internet policies
  • Confidential information clauses
  • Terms and Conditions


  • Pre-litigation solutions
  • High Court Litigation including:
    • Obtaining Search Orders, Delivery Up Orders, Computer Images, Freezing Orders
    • Enforcing restrictive covenants


How can we help you?

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