Nigel Roberts used the European Union's E-Privacy Directive law to win Ł300 (US$500) in compensation from Falkirk-based Media Logistics (UK) Ltd., becoming the first person in the country to use European legislation to defeat spammers.
Roberts had originally complained to the company after receiving unsolicited e-mail advertising a contract car firm and fax broadcasting business. He also used section seven of the Directive to force the company to reveal how it had obtained his contact details without his consent.
After receiving an apology, Media Logistics refused to pay him compensation, resulting in Roberts making a symbolic claim for damages to the Small Claims Court. This case was won in October, but judgement on the scale of damages was deferred until the first week in January. Roberts has now come to an out-of-court settlement with Media Logistics.
"This may be a tiny victory but perhaps now spammers will begin to realize that people don't have to put up with their e-mail inboxes being filled with unwanted junk," Roberts was reported as saying reaching the agreement.
"It also shows that wherever they are they can be held responsible for sending spam to anyone living in a British Isles jurisdiction."
Although the sum awarded is small -- the scale of damages was limited by Roberts' decision to use the Small Claims Court in which damages are limited to Ł300 -- it will send a clear warning to companies sending e-mails to UK residents without consent.
Roberts himself could be classed as an untypical citizen, however, both running his own Internet business and being in possession of a law degree.