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Press Release

Field Fisher Waterhouse boosts data protection practice with hire of former ICO Head of Enforcement

03/05/2011

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United Kingdom

Fieldfisher boosts data protection practice with hire of former ICO Head of Enforcement

Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP has boosted its market-leading data protection practice with the appointment of Mick Gorrill, former Head of Enforcement at the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO). Mick joins as a consultant in the firm's Privacy and Information Law Group.

Mick has been at the ICO since 2004 and was instrumental in defining and executing the ICO's regulatory strategy at a time when the regulator has significantly increased its powers. In April last year he oversaw the introduction of financial penalties of up to £500,000 for data security breaches, moving ICO enforcement up the agenda of UK businesses and ensuring data protection compliance is a top priority.

Fieldfisher's international, 17-lawyer Privacy and Information Law Group is the largest practice in Europe concentrating solely on data protection issues and has a leading reputation for advising on data security. Mick will be working closely with partner Stewart Room to advise clients on data security breaches, direct marketing breaches, cases of unlawfully obtaining personal data and data subject access requests. He will educate clients on the nuances of regulatory action, explaining the priorities for enforcement and how organisations should present their cases to the regulators. 

Mick is the firm's second ICO hire, following the appointment of Sian Rudgard in 2007. Sian was formerly a solicitor at the ICO and advises on Binding Corporate Rules, international data transfer and regulatory clearances.

Eduardo Ustaran, head of the Privacy and Information Law Group at Fieldfisher, said: "Mick has been instrumental in implementing the ICO's regulatory strategy and has helped to move data security compliance up the agenda of UK organisations. His appointment comes at a time when we expect to see tighter legislative proposals from the European Commission as well as continued pressure from the ICO. His expertise will enhance our position as top advisers in the field of data security, regulation and enforcement and working alongside Stewart will be a compelling proposition for our clients."

Stewart Room, partner and data security specialist at Fieldfisher, said: "Mick was a formidable opponent whilst Head of Enforcement and under his tenure we have seen the ICO become one of the strongest data protection regulators in the EU. In recent years there has been an escalation in the number of serious breaches of personal data and with this only set to increase, Mick's insight will be invaluable to our clients."

Mick Gorrill said: "I have known Fieldfisher's data protection team for a number of years and whilst at the ICO have been on the opposite side of many of the high profile cases that they have defended. I have always been impressed by their expertise and we have had a strong working relationship despite being on opposite sides of the fence. I'm delighted to be joining the practice and to be advising businesses on this rapidly developing and increasingly critical area of regulation."

For further press information, please contact:
Louise Eckersley, PR Manager, Field Fisher Waterhouse LLP on +44 (0)20 7861 4120

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