Subject Access Request

What is a Subject Access Request?

A Subject Access Request is a right that consumers have under the Data Protection Act 1998 to obtain from any company the information that is held about them by that company.

The ‘subject’ or ‘data subject’ refers to the consumer.

‘Access’ is the statutory right that a consumer has to obtain a copy of the information.

The ‘request’, within the meaning of a Subject Access Request, is the formal procedure of applying for the information in writing, and the payment of a statutory fee, which can be up to £10.

Following the updated guidelines that came into effect alongside GDPR in May 2018, in most situations the information requested as part of a Subject Access Request must be provided free of charge, but in some circumstances organisations may be able to charge an admin fee if a request is “manifestly unfounded, excessive or repetitive”.

Any individual can ask to see all of the information that any company holds about themselves that is held on computer and/or is stored in any paper records that can be easily retrieved (e.g. in a filing cabinet).

To make a Subject Access Request, you need to write to the person or organisation that hold your information and send the appropriate fee. Each company may encourage you to complete its own version of a Subject Access Request form, as this will ensure that you supply it with sufficient information to respond promptly, although the law allows you to make a request using a simple letter.

In most other cases, any other company must reply within 40 days to a Subject Access Request, and if the company needs further information to enable it to do so, it must act promptly in requesting any further information necessary to fulfill the Subject Access Request.


Q: Can I request information access from my employer?

A: Yes. You can use this right against any company that has information on you, including your current and former employers.

Q: Is there an associated fee?

A: As of May 2018 Subject Access Requests are free to request in most cases.

Q: How long does it take to get the information through?

A: Once the payment has been sent for the information, there is a 40 days limit for companies to respond. In most cases however, you are likely to get the information requested in around one week from the request being made.

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