Covert Surveillance, RIPA and HRA - Disclosure

Liz R made this Freedom of Information request to Supreme Court of the United Kingdom This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Supreme Court of the United Kingdom,

Regarding Covert Surveillance, RIPA and Human Rights Act.

I read recently that no authority is allowed to inform you if you are under a surveillance order via Police Act and RIPA.

I also read that the Human Rights Act overrides that law, and that The Supreme Court only, can reveal whether or not one is under 'covert surveillance' due to the Human Rights Act, especially (perhaps) under Article 8 ' a right to a private life without unnecessary intrusion from the state'.

Why doesn't the Human Rights Act then apply to all councils and/Police (who 'supply' the surveillance orders) and only rest with you to disclose the information about the HRA for people under surveillance in order to tell them they are under surveillance?

I'm a bit puzzled and would appreciate some information on this if you have any?

Do you have any information to clarify these points for me please? Also how does someone go about requesting information from you if they have been under surveillance?

Yours faithfully,

Liz R

Achow, Ann,

I am out of the office, returning on Monday 12 July . My e mails are not
being monitored or forwarded. I will attend to e mails on my return. For
all urgent external enquiries please ring our switchboard on 020 7960
1900. Please re-direct Freedom of Information Act requests to
[email address]
Ann Achow , Departmental Records Officer, The Supreme Court of the United
Kingdom, Parliament Square, London SW1P 3BD Tel 020 7960 1983

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Liz R (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

It looks like the '@' sign is not wise in auto-responders. Having just spoken to the lady at the Supreme Court she has confirmed she has received the request.

Achow, Ann,

Dear Ms R

Thank you for your request of 9 July which is receiving attention. You
will receive a reply as soon as possible within 20 working days.

Yours sincerely,

Ann Achow (Mrs)
Departmental Records Officer
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square

Tel: 020 7960 1983

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Achow, Ann,

Dear Ms R

Thank you for your request of 9 July 2010 in which you ask for
information concerning the application of the Human Rights Act in
relation to surveillance and how a request for information from an
individual who has been the subject of covert surveillance should be
made to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom.

We do not hold information about people under surveillance nor is it
within the Court's remit to obtain this information at the request of
individuals. Therefore with regards to the second part of your request
we have no procedure to receive applications from individuals on this
subject. Any correspondent seeking this information would receive a
reply saying that we do not hold it.

In reply to the first part of your request I am unable to provide the
information or clarification that you have requested. This is because
the Supreme Court does not make comment on matters other than on those
cases which come before it in its role as the final court of appeal for
civil cases in the United Kingdom and for criminal cases in England,
Wales and Northern Ireland. If the Court dealt with a case concerning
these matters the court records would be exempt from release under
section 32 of the Freedom of Information Act which gives an absolute
exemption for all court records. However, the Court does release its
judgments to the public and these are available as part of our
Publication Scheme and are accessible on the website at I am not aware
that any cases heard by the Court since it opened on 1 October 2009 has
dealt with this issue but you may wish to look at the press release or
judgments covering the Court's cases to see whether these matters have
been the subject of a case. The Court does not provide legal explanation
other than that contained in its judgments nor does the Freedom of
Information Act require a public authority to gather information which
it does not hold in order to respond to FOI requests. For more
information about the role of the Supreme Court please see our website

We do hold reference material about many aspects of UK, European and
international law in our library and the information you refer to may
be contained within the library material as it includes printed
publications such as legal journals, textbooks, law reports and
legislation. The library is for the use of the Justices and staff of
the Supreme Court - we do not provide a library facility for the
public. The library's reference information is exempt from release under
Section 21 of the Freedom of Information Act as it is published
information which is available by other means. The Freedom of
Information Act does not provide an alternative means of access to
information which is already freely available, either through commercial
publishing operations or through existing publicly funded provision.

Printed information explaining the law can be found by using the
websites of legal bookshops for example or to name just two. You should be able to
access books through your local library or through the Inter Library
Loan Service. For information about Acts and statutes you may wish to
access the following websites:

You may wish to contact the Home Office who have policy responsibility
for RIPA and policing matters. Their e mail address is
[email address]. Alternatively, the Office for
Surveillance Commissioners may be able to assist you. In addition, you
may wish to consult a solicitor or the Citizens Advice Bureau if you
need detailed legal advice.

As part of our obligations under the FOIA, we have an independent review
process. If you are dissatisfied with this response you may write to
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how your request was handled.

If you wish to request an internal review, please write or send an email
to the Director of Corporate Services within two months of the date of
this reply, at the following address:

Director of Corporate Services
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square

e mail: [email address]

If you remain dissatisfied after an internal review decision, you have
the right to apply to the Information Commissioner's Office under
Section 50 of the FOIA. You can contact the Information Commissioner's
Office at the following address:

Information Commissioner's Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane


Yours sincerely,

Mrs Ann Achow
Departmental Records Officer
The Supreme Court of the United Kingdom
Parliament Square

Tel: 020 7960 1983

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