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The Investigatory Powers Tribunal has found that MI5 unlawfully held data within its Technology Environment between late 2014 and April 2019, and did not make full and frank disclosure of such unlawfulness to the Home Office when applying for warrants. In turn, the Secretary of State for the Home Department failed to make adequate enquiries as to whether the applicable statutory requirements had been complied with, and so acted unlawfully in granting warrants to MI5 in the period from December 2016 and April 2019.

The Tribunal has also found that MI5 breached its duty of candour to the Tribunal in related proceedings brought by Privacy International concerning the lawfulness of bulk personal datasets and bulk communications data, due to a failure to make disclosure to the Tribunal of MI5’s “substantial failure in the use of [bulk communications data]”.

The Tribunal has decided to grant declaratory relief only. It refused to grant the further relief requested by the Claimants, including to quash the warrants issued during the period of unlawful handling and the Home Office’s handling, to order destruction of data, and damages.

Tom de la Mare KC, Ben Jaffey KC, Daniel Cashman and Gayatri Sarathy acted pro bono for the Claimants.

Sir James Eadie KC acted for the Respondents.

The full judgment can be read here.

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