Investigatory Powers

Investigatory Powers

Matrix barristers are experts in all areas of law touching on investigatory powers and state surveillance – from production orders and search warrants in criminal investigations, to challenges to all forms of covert surveillance, and the acquisition and retention of personal data under the Investigatory Powers Act, PACE and RIPA.

Work done by Matrix barristers has included challenges to the lawfulness of search warrants and production orders, from the Crown Court to the Supreme Court. Significant cases in which Matrix members have appeared include:

  • R (Redknapp) v City of London Police [2008] EWHC 1177 (Admin), [2009] 1 WLR 2091;
  • R (Mills) v Sussex Police [2014] EWHC 2523 (Admin), [2015] 1 WLR 2199;
  • R (KBR Inc) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office [2018] EWHC 2368 (Admin), [2019] QB 675; and
  • R (Haralambous) v St Albans Crown Court [2018] UKSC 1, [2018] AC 236.

Matrix barristers have also acted in many of the most significant cases relating to the lawfulness of stop and search powers. These include Roberts v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis [2015] UKSC 79, [2016] 1 WLR 210 on the lawfulness of stop and search under s60 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, as well successful challenges to stop and search powers under different provisions of the Terrorism Act 2000 in Gillan v UK (4158/05), (2010) 50 EHRR 45, and Beghal v UK (4755/16), (2019) 69 EHRR 28.

The exponential growth of technological tools in modern policing and investigations – domestically and internationally – often requires the multi-disciplinary expertise that the Matrix criminal team offers. Our members are experienced in bringing legal challenges to investigatory powers on behalf of criminal defendants, civil litigants and NGOs in every court, and to all levels of appeal.

In the criminal courts, Matrix barristers have led challenges to evidence obtained in the deployment of new investigatory powers when defending clients from criminal allegations, including the use in evidence of intercepted ‘EncroChat’ communications obtained by the NCA; and the use of coercive police powers to obtain computer passwords under Part III of RIPA in R v S [2008] EWCA Crim 2177, [2009] 1 WLR 1489.

In the High Court and in the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Matrix barristers have successfully challenged national security covert surveillance powers used by GCHQ in Big Brother Watch and Others v UK (58170/13) and the retention of biometric data and the use of live facial recognition in R (Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales [2020] EWCA Civ 1058, [2020] 1 WLR 5037.

As technology and surveillance powers develop and expand, Matrix barristers remain at the forefront of cases testing and ensuring the legality of each deployment.