Information and privacy rights

Our information and privacy work has achieved significant successes and broken new ground. This work has three main components:

Misuse of Data

Personal information about us is held by a large number of public and private bodies. Considerable damage can result if it is not handled correctly.

We act for clients who may have been affected by the misuse of their data held by public authorities and corporations.

This includes claims for compensation for distress, defamation, and financial losses arising from misuse or incorrect recording of personal data.

We also have experience of securing injunctions to prevent the misuse of information and the removal of information which is false.

For example, we have represented clients in the following cases:

Access to Data and Transparency

We represent individuals and non-governmental organisations in legal challenges seeking transparency. Often our clients need to obtain this information for wider campaigning or reporting purposes, or to fulfil their function as non-governmental organisations informing the public about particular areas.

In the UK, this often concerns requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Refused requests can be appealed to the Information Commissioner and then to the Information Tribunal.

An entitlement to access accurate and comprehensive information is also recognised by the common law, including where affected individuals have a legitimate expectation to information held by public bodies and in the conduct of government consultations.

For example, we have represented clients in the following cases:

  • The release of information regarding private sector operators of immigration detention centres in the UK, including the fact that incidents of self-harm leading to death incurred a mere £10,000 penalty (Information Commissioner v Home Office & Miller).
  • Access to information in relation to UK use of armed drones, including the first cross-examination of a UK armed drone pilot (Cole v Information Commissioner & MoD).
  • The release of further information regarding historical activities of the UK Foreign Office in relation to Bahrain (Jones v Information Commissioner & FCO).

Right to Privacy

We work with individuals and NGOs in securing accountability for unlawful surveillance activities and in challenging the legal frameworks that have permitted them. We advise on the domestic, human rights and EU law in this area, including the requirements of data protection law.

For example, we have represented clients in the following cases: