Article 6(1)(e) GDPR provides a lawful basis for processing where:
“processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of official authority vested in the controller”
It is clearly in the public interest that we do what we do to make case law made available online so that those who wish to know the law may research it.
We do not have direct official authority to publish our index, but we index only what an official authority (a judge) has made a positive decision to publish. It should be noted that many cases are now anonymised.
It should be noted also that the Data Protection Act 2018 extends Article 6. By section 8 of the 2018 Act:
8 Lawfulness of processing: public interest etc
In Article 6(1) of the GDPR (lawfulness of processing), the reference in point (e) to processing of personal data that is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest or in the exercise of the controller’s official authority includes processing of personal data that is necessary for—
(a) the administration of justice,
(e) an activity that supports or promotes democratic engagement.
This amendment was promoted particularly to allow proper law reporting, serving both the administration of justice (providing essential information to those preparing and presenting cases in courts) and it promotes democratic engagement, by allowing those citizens with concerns as to the state of play of the law first to identify that state, and using that knowledge to promote changes they think necessary through the democratic system.
Criminal Offence Data
Article 10 GDPR provides: “Processing of personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences or related security measures based on Article 6(1) shall be carried out only under the control of official authority or when the processing is authorised by Union or Member State law providing for appropriate safeguards for the rights and freedoms of data subjects. Any comprehensive register of criminal convictions shall be kept only under the control of official authority.“
We do publish cases which ask questions of law which arise from criminal proceedings. We recognise fully that knowledge of the details such matters can be extremely sensitive, and damaging to those involved. Even so, the judges in such matters, as official authority as can be found, decide in each of the cases they make available whether the case We do not however provide a comprehensive register of criminal convictions. It is not a register, it is not comprehensive, and it is not of criminal convictions.
Criminal convictions occur in Magistrates Courts and in Crown Courts. We neither record nor publish nor index such cases. There are a very limited number of procedural decisions made in the Crown Courts which are published. Appeals from such are, very broadly, limited to appeals on the law. It is also right that in Northern Ireland it has been deemed evenmore important that people should be able to see
Each of our cases is based upon data issued exactly by the courts. There can be no better law authority. That court system provides extensive safeguards to seek to ensure that, where appropriate, personal identifiers are limited.