The Inside Story: I Join The BA Class Action Lawsuit

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I recently joined the class action lawsuit run by English lawyers PGMBM against British Airways, brought for BA’s massive data breach in 2018. My motivation for this cannot be fully divulged for legal reasons, but I thought it may be helpful to give you some idea of the process, and my experience so far.

How did I sign up?

Commencing the class action was very simple. I sought out the class action lawyers’ webpage, and struck up a conversation with a chatbot.

british airways court case

Shortly after completing this chat, I received an email from the lawyers which included a questionnaire. This required me to provide an indication of my eligibility to join the claim, and full details of the losses, inconvenience and anxieties I had suffered as a result of the breach.

While I am not able to comment on any individual circumstances, it seems that the mental health element to this case will be a key factor in the collective claim for “damages” against British Airways (note that English civil law requires loss before damages are paid, to rectify that loss. There is no general concept of “punitive” damages that exceed the losses suffered).

The key basis for eligibility

The key to joining the class action, apparently, is that you need to have been sent this email by British Airways in September 2018:

british airways court case

If you were not sent this email, the likelihood is you were not affected by the breach and therefore cannot join the class action.

british airways court case

I was asked to provide the email shown above as part of the initial questionnaire, via an upload.

Per the image above, you do not have to be a UK citizen or resident to join the class action. This is an action in the English courts, but it is open to anyone affected.

What has the process been since joining?

It’s all been fairly straightforward. Since the questionnaire, I was provided with an acknowledgement email and then a general update on the case.

Subsequent to that, I received a draft “Schedule of Information”, which basically took the information I had given via the questionnaire and summarised it in a more formal “Schedule of Information”, entirely specific to me.

As a result, the circumstances and basis for my claim are now clearly established and defined. I will therefore wait to see where this gets me, as part of the wider claim.

Should you join? What are the timings?

I am in no position to comment on whether you should or should not join the class action. If you received the above email, you may well be eligible but that’s not to say you need to actually be part of the legal action. We were all affected in different ways – some massively, some less so. If you were caught up in the breach, it’s down to you to decide how to progress.

That said, if you do want to join, you have until 30 April to do so.

Will it cost anything to join the class action?

The lawyers, PGMBM, give three very clear reassurances in relation to the costs to you of joining this case:

  • The case is being handled on a ‘no-win, no-fee’ basis, so there is no risk attached to you.
  • Our Conditional Fee Agreement means we will only charge you if your claim is successful. This fee is capped at 35% of the damages that you recover.
  • In the unlikely event that we are not successful, our insurance policies protect you against reimbursing the costs of the Defendants’ legal teams.

So it’s absolutely clear: as a claimant, you will not pay a penny for any part of the class action.

What are the next steps?

According to PGMBM, British Airways need to provide full disclosure of all relevant documentation by 16 June 2021.

This disclosure process apparently involves a review of around 5,000,000 documents, with the disclosed documents then needing to be reviewed by PGMBM. As a result, it is anticipated that any actual trial will begin no earlier than 7 June 2022, and last for around 15 days.

We will keep you updated on developments!

(Cover image courtesy


  1. Eppleby Green says

    Kick’em whilst they’re down! I doubt that any one suffered mental trauma because of this data breach but, hey, it’s a chance to make some money!

    • Tom Sumner says

      I fully agree that there’s an element of “ambulance chasing” to this case.

      However, a few observations:

      – Our resident IF claimant has genuinely good reasons for his claim, indeed it is more a point of principle than a money-grab.
      – British Airways have spent the last few years treating a number of their customers appallingly. Genuinely, their responses to complaints appears to be to provide as little as they possibly can to the customer complaining. This has led to vast numbers of people going to arbitration or court, and often winning. From my personal perspective, therefore, any sense of pity for BA as a result of the coronavirus situation is extremely limited.
      – British Airways is a big bad corporate. There’s no doubt that, regardless of the spuriousness of some of the claims, it failed the required standards here. It has been fined for the breaches, but none of that money has gone to those affected. I fully agree that claims for “mental trauma” are very arguably a step too far, but there are some people who were caused enormous amounts of inconvenience, loss and (yes) stress. As a result, however over-litigious a big class action may look, there’s a basis for legal action here.
      – This matter will be decided at trial if necessary! If BA are found not to have caused loss giving rise to damages, they won’t have to pay any. BA have a legal budget and rest assured they’ll get adequate representation.

      • Eppleby Green says

        In my several run-ins (runs-in?) with British Airways I have generally found them to be fair in all matters and, on one occasion, enormously generous! So maybe it’s not what you say to them it’s the way that you say it! I don’t think that I was affected by this data breach but rather than going after BA shouldn’t you be going after the perpetrators? Or would that not get the lawyers any money?

      • Eppleby Green says

        You say that none of the money from claims has gone to the affected passengers! (It has been fined for the breaches, but none of that money has gone to those affected.) But what about this story from ‘The Points Guy’ 12/12/2018 (And, while “BA denies that it did anything wrong,” we finally have a settlement in the case. Now, qualifying BA members can claim up to 35,000 Avios or a 16.9% cash refund on the fuel surcharges paid. Based on the number of class action members, British Airways is prepared to issue “up to 2,228,677,500 Avios.”) It seems that affected passengers benefited from this!

      • Eppleby Green says

        I have just run a search of reviews for the law firm (PGMBM) that you mentioned in your leader. The firm rated 2.5 stars on the glass door website which rates firms on reviews by the firm’s staff.

        Also, it appears that this firm morphed from SPG Law which is a firm that advertises ‘no win, no fee’ but which appears to charge fees for costs associated with preparing the case. This review appeared about SPG Law ( I filled in a questionnaire about claiming against VW NOX emissions group litigation with a law firm called spg law a trading name of Excello law limited I gave my email address and car registration number and the sent me a document saying I have entered a contract.I have tried to cancel this agreement by email but none of the email addresses in the document will accept this how do I cancel and is a legal document it states no win no fee but the fees mentioned are sky high). I think that one of your other responders mentioned a similar firm!
        I would suggest that you read (A law firm spending £1m on advertising for claimants to join its British Airways data breach group action cannot recover it from the airline in the event of winning, the High Court has ruled. Mr Justice Saini said these were costs which group action practice PGMBM would have to swallow itself. We reported last month that PGMBM has become what is thought to be the first law firm in the UK to advertise on TV for claimants to join specific cases). Which is on

        You could end up with a large bill.

  2. TJ says

    Check the legal small print very carefully. Another lawyer involved in the class action – Your Lawyers – also operates on a “no win, no fee” basis but state in the small print that you will be on the hook for disbursements, etc.

  3. Ted says

    When a car of mine was damaged I was recommended a similar type firm, to get a temporary replacement car of similar value to mine, instead of the type of car my own insurance would offer. This recommendation came from Porsche. The firm I was recommended are also ambulance chasers. I was dragged into civil court and quizzed as to why I thought it necessary to have a temporary replacement car which was the same as mine. I was also threatened by the ambulance chasers, that if I didn’t do this, then I’d be liable for all costs. When you signup to things like this you need to be very aware of and diligent in your readings of the small-print. They’re all vultures, without exception. I won’t be joining. If I was personally, materially affected in this case, then I’d take it up directly with BA. For clarity I received the email about the breach.

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