Government defeated in challenge to data retention and access regime for communications

In a decision today (17 July 2015) the Divisional Court has held that the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (‘DRIPA’) is inconsistent with EU Law. The claimants, Peter Brice and Geoffrey Lewis, were represented by a legal team including Stuart Luke of Bhatia Best. Their claims were heard together with those of David Davis and Tom Watson MPs, represented by Liberty.

The claimants brought their claims as they were concerned with the width of the powers to retain and gain access to their data on a number of grounds, including confidentiality of communications with solicitors and, in respect of Mr Davis and Mr Watson, concerns about the confidentiality of communications to and from constituents.

The Divisional Court held that the DRIPA legislation establishing a general retention regime for communications data infringed Articles 7 and 8 of the EU Charter unless it was accompanied by an access regime (laid down at national level) which provided adequate safeguards for those rights.

As such an access regime had not been put in place by DRIPA, sections 1 and 2 were contrary to EU law.

Bhatia Best specialises in pursuing challenges against the acts of public bodies including government departments.