Lord, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department: Admn 1 Sep 2003

The claimant was a category A prisoner serving a sentence of life imprisonment for murder. He sought the reasons for his categorisation as a Class A prisoner. Unhappy at the disclosure made, he sought information under the 1998 Act. It was argued that disclosure beyong ‘gist’ reports would threaten the system of categorisation, which was intended for the protection of the public.
Held: The prisoner should see ‘the gist of the reports’, not the gist of the Governor or Deputy Governor’s overall assessment or recommendation, but the gist of the reports – all of them. Redacting information to this extent made it impossible for him to prepare any answer. The prisoner had been treated shabbily. ‘Likely’ in section 29(1) connotes a degree of probability where there is a very significant and weighty chance of prejudice to the identified public interests. The proper balance called for by section 7(4)(b) between the legitimate interests of the prisoner and of the authors of the reports can be held by a system of targeted non-disclosure.


The Honourable Mr Justice Munby


[2003] EWHC 2073 (Admin)




Data Protection Act 1998 7 29(1)


England and Wales


CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Doody and Others HL 25-Jun-1993
A mandatory lifer is to be permitted to suggest the period of actual sentence to be served. The Home Secretary must give reasons for refusing a lifer’s release. What fairness requires in any particular case is ‘essentially an intuitive judgment’, . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State Home Department, Ex Parte Duggan QBD 9-Dec-1993
A High Security prisoner is to know the gist of report and reasons for his categorisation: ‘on the first and subsequent annual reviews, fairness, in my view, requires that the gist of the reports be revealed in order to give the opportunity for . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for Home Department ex parte McAvoy CA 3-Dec-1997
A prisoner had the right to know the gist (though not the full contents) of reports used in deciding on a review of his security status. (Lord Woolf MR) ‘For my part, I accept that it is desirable, when something has the impact which being placed in . .
CitedWilliams v The Secretary of State for the Home Office CA 17-Apr-2002
The applicant was a post-tariff discretionary life prisoner, applying for a change in his security classification. He sought disclosure of his security report which was denied by the respondent. He alleged a breach of his human rights.
Held: . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Creamer and Scholey QBD 1992
‘A prisoner’s right to make representations is largely valueless unless he knows the case against him and secret, unchallengeable reports which may contain damaging inaccuracies and which result in continuing loss of liberty are, or should be, . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for the Home Department ex parte Anufrijeva HL 26-Jun-2003
The appellant challenged the withdrawal of her benefits payments. She had applied for asylum, and been granted reduced rate income support. A decision was made refusing her claim, but that decision was, by policy, not communicated to her for several . .
CitedCampbell v Mirror Group Newspapers plc CA 14-Oct-2002
The newspaper appealed against a finding that it had infringed the claimant’s privacy by publishing a photograph of her leaving a drug addiction clinic.
Held: The claimant had courted publicity, and denied an involvement in drugs. The defence . .
CitedThree Rivers District Council and Others, HM Treasury, v HM Treasury, The Governor and Company of the Bank of England (No 4) CA 7-Aug-2002
The claimants had suffered having lost deposits with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International. They claimed their losses from the respondents as regulators of the bank, for negligence and misfeasance in public office. The action was based upon . .
CitedIn re H and R (Minors) (Child Sexual Abuse: Standard of Proof) HL 14-Dec-1995
Evidence allowed – Care Application after Abuse
Children had made allegations of serious sexual abuse against their step-father. He was acquitted at trial, but the local authority went ahead with care proceedings. The parents appealed against a finding that a likely risk to the children had still . .
CitedRegina (Daly) v Secretary of State for the Home Department HL 23-May-2001
A prison policy requiring prisoners not to be present when their property was searched and their mail was examined was unlawful. The policy had been introduced after failures in search procedures where officers had been intimidated by the presence . .
CitedP v Wozencroft (Expert Evidence: Data Protection) FD 2002
The court discussed the discretion given under the section: ‘I remind myself, however, that under s 7(9) the claimant would have had to establish that the defendant had failed to comply with a request for disclosure in contravention of s 7(1), and, . .
CitedDurant v Financial Services Authority CC 24-Oct-2002
(Edmonton County Court) The claimant sought disclosure under the Act from the FSA of its file relating to his dealings with Barclays Bank. Though the claim generally failed, the court considered how it would have exercised his discretion under . .

Cited by:

CitedDurant v Financial Services Authority CA 8-Dec-2003
The appellant had been unsuccessful in litigation against his former bank. The Financial Services Authority had subsequently investigated his complaint against the bank. Using section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998, he requested disclosure of his . .
CitedRoberts, Regina (on the Application of) v Secretary of State for Home Department Admn 12-Mar-2004
The claimant complained at a decision not to reduce his Category A status to that of a category B prisoner. He continued to maintain his innocence of the murders for which he had been convicted. He was therefore ineligible to take part in . .
CitedJohn Connor Press Associates Ltd v The Information Commissioner IT 24-Jan-2006
. .
CitedDepartment for Work and Pensions v The Information Commissioner and Another CA 27-Jul-2016
The applicant sought disclosure of certain organisations who had provided placements for those seeking work. They said that in the past disclosure had led to adverse publicity for those organisations, and refused disclosure under the department’s . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Prisons, Information

Updated: 11 October 2022; Ref: scu.186261