On UK's specialized Information Rights Tribunal

I’m starting to work more intensely for my thesis. Which means, for now, a lot of reading. And with a lot of reading comes a lot of new information every day. This is how I found out that while there are EU countries where data protection is an “alien” concept, understood and looked upon by very few specialists on a theoretical level (as the practice level is almost non-existent) – e.g. Romania, there are also countries which actually have specialized tribunals for information rights (wow!) – e.g. UK.

For those of my readers who have no idea about the Information Rights Tribunal, I will write down some of its main characteristics.

History

Up until 17 January 2010 the Information Rights Tribunal was called the Information Tribunal (previously called Data Protection Tribunal) and was originally set up to hear appeals under the Data Protection Act 1984.

The tribunal continued to hear appeals after the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) came into effect, but was renamed the Information Tribunal when it’s responsibilities were expanded and it began hearing other information appeals under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA), the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).

The Information Rights Tribunal is now part of the First–tier Tribunal in the General Regulatory Chamber and is referred to as the First–tier Tribunal (Information Rights).

Competence

The Information Rights Tribunal hears appeals from notices issued by the Information Commissioner under:

  • Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)
  • The Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR)
  • INSPIRE Regulations 2009 (INSPIRE)
  • Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)
  • Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation 2003 (PECR)
  • Data Protection Monetary Penalty Regulations 2010 (DP Monetary penalties)

A panel composed of the Tribunal Judge and two other non–legal members, all appointed by the Lord Chancellor, hears appeals at venues across the United Kingdom. The oral hearings are open to the public.

Judges

All Information Rights Tribunal Judges are all solicitors or barristers with at least 7 years professional experience. Click for Judges’ bios here.

There are currently 36 non legal members of the Tribunal. The appointment of non legal Tribunal members is based on their experience in matters deallt with by the Information Rights Tribunal, for example, because they have worked with data controllers or have represented data subjects. Click for non legal members of the tribunal’s bios here.

If you’re interested in the Tribunal’s case-law, you have a very user friendly Decision catalog HERE.

I will also look for some interesting cases and I will sure bring them to your attention in the future.

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