Lawfulness of processing


The lawful basis (or bases) for our processing.

  • Article 6(1)(e) GDPR says:”processing is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest”. In the UK, this is extended by sections 8 and 10 of the Data Protection Act 2018, which provides or clatifies that the public interest includes processing which isnecessary for ‘the administration of justice” (8(a)), and further includes “an activity that supports or promotes democratic engagement” (8(e)).  It is in the public interest that people have access to written statements of the law which applies to them. Without such information being available, the administration of justice is impeded, and the capacity of persons to be democratically engaged would be improperly limited.
  • The lawful basis for our processing lies first in the need for and human right for citizens to be able to learn the law which rules their lives
  • Our judges have repeatedly said that justice must be open. The public must be able to identify who has been involved in what litigation.
  • We publish nothing except materials upon which a positive decision has been made by a court to publicise. This is subject to effective safeguards both in the duties accepted and implemented by courts to anonymise certain sensitive data before publication. Parties to litigation are also free to apply to courts for such anonymisation.

If we are processing special category data or criminal offence data, we have identified a condition for processing this type of data.

  • Criminal data
  • We process such data only in a limited form. We do not maintain a register, and we do not record convictions as such. What we do is to note up cases from appeal courts where the issue beore that court is one of law. The factual circumstances tend to be a mere background. It is necessary for those involved in criminal litigation to have access to such decisions, and we provide it as a public duty and service. Again, nothing is published which has not already gone through a process which includes assessing any need or request for anonymisation, and we respect and abide by such assessments.
  • Other sensitive data
  • Courts have well developed system for assessing privacy needs before deciding to make their judgments available for publication. There have been a very few occasions on which we have felt that a particular case has not been satisfactorily anonymised, and have reported ‘back’ such judgments for republication in corrected form and withheld publication until the issue has been resolved.

We do not do anything generally unlawful with personal data.

  • We publish the materials we have, but beyond that do not carry out an further processing. We do very occasionally receive requests for information as to specific individuals, but have always reject such requests save where


We have considered how the processing may affect the individuals concerned and can justify any adverse impact.

  • We acknowledge that materials we publish might have adverse impacts on those involved. We have developed a range of responses which reflect our assessments of such impacts. these include (where appropriate):
  • Limiting name identifiers
  • Validating and correcting as necessary our notations
  • Marking pages ‘no index’

We only handle people’s data in ways they would reasonably expect, or we can explain why any unexpected processing is justified.

  • Litigants understand (or should do) that litigation is a public topic. Litigants themselves rely upon case law in assessing and presenting their own cases, and in going to court, become part of that same process. It should not be unexpected.

We do not deceive or mislead people when we collect their personal data.

  • Data is not collected by us from individuals directly.


We are open and honest, and comply with the transparency obligations. It would be impracticable and disproportionate to seek out litigants directly to inform them that wehave recived such data.