Why make a complaint to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (‘IPT’)

15th September 2021 Criminal Defence

JMW Solicitors Business Crime and Regulatory team are instructed to pursue a claim by way of complaint to the IPT in relation to a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation relating to Encrochat.

The IPT operates independently of government and provides a way of challenging a decision by a person (such as a defendant in criminal proceedings) who believes they have been a victim of unlawful action by a public authority using covert investigative techniques.

The Tribunal is also the appropriate forum to consider complaints about any conduct by or on behalf of the UK Intelligence Community, MI5, SIS and GCHQ, as well as claims alleging the infringement of human rights by those agencies.

The Tribunal has a UK wide jurisdiction and there are no cost risks associated with making a complaint to the Tribunal.

The right to make a complaint is pursuant to Part II of The Investigatory Powers Tribunal Rules 2000.

A complaint can be made under two heads:

  1. Under s.7(1)(a) the Human Rights Act 1998
  2. Under s.65 of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

The Tribunal is under a positive duty both to investigate and to determine valid complaints.

Public authorities (such as the Police, NCA) are under a duty to provide the Tribunal with all documents and information the Tribunal may require, to assist in that investigation.

Importantly, nothing can be held back from the Tribunal for reasons of secrecy or national security.

It is important that any complaint is advanced properly as s. 67(4) of the RIPA 2000, provides for the Tribunal to be under no duty to hear, consider or determine any proceedings, complaint or reference if it appears to them that the bringing of the proceedings or the making of the complaint or reference is frivolous or vexatious.

What if you are successful?

S.67 (7) of RIPA 2000 provides a power for the Tribunal to:

  1. Quash any Order;
  2. Cancel any Warrant or Authorisation;
  3. Require the destruction of any records of information which has been obtained in exercise of any power conferred by a warrant or authorisation; or is held by any public authority in relation to any person.

Any of the above remedies may have a benefit to anyone charged with criminal offences, in particular; possession with intent to supply drugs, links to organised crime groups, firearms or murder offences and alleged conspiracy offences where the evidence stems from a Warrant or Order which engages RIPA 2000.

If you or someone that you know may benefit from advice in relation to this area, get in touch with our expert team at JMW today for advice in relation to a Complaint to the IPT, and any relevant offences that you may face. Call us on 0345 241 5305 or complete our online enquiry form and we will get back to you.

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Catherine O'Rourke is an Associate Solicitor located in Manchester in our Business Crime & Regulation department

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Mike Rainford is a Partner located in Manchester in our Business Crime & Regulation department

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Sam Healey is a Partner located in Manchester in our Business Crime, Regulation & Serious Driving Offences department

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