No damages for ECHR, art 8 violation by GCHQ, as intercepted legally privileged material had not been used to prejudicial effect


Re: Belhadj & Ors v Secret Sevice & Ors [2015] UKIPTrib 13_132-H

This case concerned whether the claimants’ legally privileged communications had in fact been intercepted/obtained, used or disclosed following the respondents conceding that their regime for legal privileged material had not been in accordance with the law for the purposes of the ECHR, art 8 and was therefore unlawful.

The Tribunal issued a determination only in favour of the 3rd Claimant, Saadi, after finding 2 documents containing material subject to the legal professional privilege of any of the claimants which have been held by any of the agencies, namely by GCHQ. On this basis it determined that there was an infringement of art 8. However it emphasised that although the information covered privilege it did not disclose any legal advice.

It stated that there should be no award of compensation for the breach as the material had not been disclosed nor used to Saadi’s prejudice and he had not suffered any detriment or damage.

Nick Armstrong, Jonathan Glasson QC, Tamara Jaber and Hugh Tomlinson QC were involved in this case.