Landmark Data Retention Case

Judgement given by EJC in Landmark Data Retention Case. Brice & Lewis v Secretary of State for the Home Department (C-698/15)

Judgement was this morning given by the European Court of Justice, in the widely anticipated case of Watson, Brice, Lewis v Secretary of State on whether the law allows the State to retain and access (en masse) mobile telephone data, including details of telephone calls made, text messages, internet search history and other information.

In the judgement, the European Court of Justice held unanimously that the UK Government could not retain (en masse) personal telephone information and data held by telecommunications companies for the purposes of investigating or prosecuting crime, with the exception of investigating the most serious of criminal offences.

The court held also that access to personal telephone information and data could only be authorised by an order of the court or an independent authority.

The effect of the judgement means that telecommunications data held by telecommunications companies cannot be retained in the way that it is as present and that access to that information is limited to the investigation of the most serious of crimes and only with the authority of the court or an independent authority.

The case was taken to the European Court of Justice by Peter Brice and Geoffrey Lewis and was joined to the case initially brought by David Davis MP (now Secretary of State of Exiting the EU) and Tom Watson MP (Deputy Leader of the Labour Party).

The legal case was presented by Richard Drabble QC of Landmark Chambers, Ramby De Mello of No 5 Chambers and Azeem Suterwalla of Monckton Chambers instructed by Stuart Luke, Head of the Public Law and Community Care Team at Bhatia Best Solicitors.

The full judgement can be found here: http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=186492&pageIndex=0&doclang=en&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=530202