Thirty-five paper files maintained by the first defendant are a “relevant filing system” for the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, s 1(1). The right to the protection of personal data was enshrined as a fundamental right in EU law by the Charter – after Durrant v FSA (with its more restrictive approach) was decided. The focus now is on the need for protection of the data subject, as opposed to the burden on the data controller. Furthermore, the words “criteria relating to individuals” in the Directive, its recitals and the Act should be read expansively so as to protect a fundamental right. The 1998 Act does not contain an exception for documents not disclosable to a beneficiary of a trust under trust law principles – the legal professional privilege exception applies only if there is relevant privilege according to the law in any part of the UK.
Antony White QC was involved in this.