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Bureau of Investigative Journalism and anor v UK (App No. 62322/14), 10 Human Rights Organisations v UK (App No. 24960/15)

The European Court of Human Rights heard argument yesterday in a landmark challenge to the UK’s regime for the interception of external communications.

The Applicants are a range of UK-based and international non-governmental organisations as well as individuals active in the fields of journalism and data privacy. The complaints in the three cases were triggered by disclosures by Edward Snowden as to the surveillance measures used by the UK and the US intelligence services, including the practices of intercepting electronic communications in bulk as well as the sharing of intercepted data between intelligence services.

The claims assert interferences by such practices with the Applicants’ rights under Articles 8, 10 and 14 ECHR, as well as a challenge under Article 6 ECHR to the compatibility of the procedure before the specialist domestic tribunal, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT), in which some of the Applicants had brought complaints.

The Court will now consider the submissions and deliver judgment at a later date.

Dinah Rose QC, Ben Jaffey QC, Tom Hickman and Ravi Mehta acted for the Applicants.

James Eadie QC acted for the United Kingdom.

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