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Data Theft & Protection

Our team has over 20 years’ experience advising clients following the theft of company data, from straightforward cases of hard copy company records to the transfer of confidential documents

Our data theft & protection expertise

A company’s trade secrets, customer database and financial information are often the most valuable assets of a company. Despite this, their importance and protection are overlooked by companies focused on the challenges of day-to-day trading. Misappropriation of data and misuse can occur for many reasons and from a number of sources. This may provide competitors, disgruntled ex-employees or criminals with significant and unfair commercial advantages.

Our team has over 20 years’ experience advising clients following the theft of company data, from straightforward cases of hard copy company records to the transfer of confidential documents onto USBs or theft via cloud storage/mobile devices. We also bring and defend claims where confidential information has been misused; where parties have entered into Non Disclosure Agreements.

With the expansion and reliance on technology, data theft and misuse of data have been areas of significant growth in the last 5 years and one in which Freeths has an excellent track record of recovery for its clients. Freeths will guide you through every step of the way, utilising our sector specific knowledge and in-depth understanding of both the legal remedies (including search orders, application for pre-action disclosure, delivery up and freezing orders), and the more practical steps to take to recover your confidential data, and achieve financial redress for the theft.

We also provide advice to clients to stop data theft occurring in the first place. This can include ensuring employers have the appropriate protection in their employment contracts, Non Disclosure Agreements and company policies, to running workshops with clients to understand what specific areas of their business may be at risk.

Why choose our data theft & protection team?

  • As “business people first and lawyers second” we understand your point of view
  • We pride ourselves on settling disputes as quickly as possible and keeping them out of court through negotiation and alternative dispute resolution
  • We have strategic partnerships with a range of professional services such as forensic accountants, private investigators and IT specialists which can be tailored to the specific needs of each case
  • In a lot of data theft cases there is a requirement to act quickly and decisively. We won’t sit on the fence and will advise you of the best course of action to take, as well as the associated risks

The Freeths team has wide ranging experience acting for companies who have been the victim of data theft. We make a virtue of having an experienced partner handle your matter, who will be available to discuss any issue you might have when needed, with closely supervised assistance from more junior solicitors and project managers to keep costs down.

What can we provide?


  • Post termination restrictive covenants
  • Email/Internet/IT/Social Media policies
  • Database policies
  • Enforceable Terms and Conditions
  • Advice prior to employees being terminated
  • Employee training


  • Advice prior to issuing proceedings to resolve the dispute – including requesting detailed undertakings and obtaining costs protection
  • Obtaining without and on notice, Search Orders, Pre-Action Disclosure, Orders for Delivery Up, Orders for Computers to be imaged and asset Freezing Orders
  • Enforcing restrictive covenants/Non Disclosure Agreements/breach of contract/breach of confidence

Key contact

James Hartley's Profile

James Hartley

Partner & National Head of Dispute Resolution

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