Many applications for the right to be forgotten will be accepted by the search engines and the unwanted material will be blocked from a search of your name.

However, in some cases, the search engines will reject the application and you have the option at that stage of appealing the decision to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Common reasons for a search engine to refuse an application are that they believe the information published is in the public interest, or it relates to someone’s working life in a role they still hold. The ICO will consider appeals on slightly different and wider grounds and will take more account of the impact upon you, of continued publication of the unwanted material.

Appeals to the ICO have to be drafted according to strict de-listing criteria, which covers detail such as your role in public life, whether any sensitive data (for example data referring to your health, sexuality or religious beliefs) is included in the articles you want to block, whether the material is inaccurate or defamatory, and they will look in more detail at the context in which it has been published.

An appeal to the ICO is therefore more involved than an application to a search engine for the right to be forgotten. It will take slightly longer to prepare, although we can turn around appeals very quickly (usually within a day) if necessary, and generally we can ensure that they are submitted within around a week of you providing us with all of the information we need.

The ICO can take several months to make a decision on your appeal. In some cases, the ICO will communicate with the search engine before making a decision, but in most cases, the ICO will make their decision based on the content of the appeal. This is why it is important to include everything that is necessary, in the appeal documentation.

If the appeal is successful, the ICO will notify the search engine that the unwanted material should be blocked from a search of your name and it is very rare indeed for the search engines to fail to comply with the ICO’s findings.

If the appeal is unsuccessful, the next step would be to start court proceedings to have the ICO’s decision reconsidered. This is something that we would be happy to discuss with you if necessary.

Our fees for preparing and submitting an appeal to the ICO on your behalf, will be subject to a fixed fee, which we will agree with you when we start working for you. Provided the ICO does not ask for any further information (which sometimes does happen), you will not pay any more than this fixed fees. The fee is dependent on the complexity of your case, and the amount of material you wish to have blocked, and is decided on a case by case basis.

If you would like us to bring an appeal to the ICO on your behalf, if your right to be forgotten application has been unsuccessful, contact us today to find out how we can help.


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