The General Data Potection Regulations now rule over the collection and retention of data. We do our best to comply with the requirements, but it always will be a learning and developing process. We have always tried to respect people’s rights, and we start from a position of having had rigorous privacy policies in place for some years. At the same time, we acknowledge that this website deals with materials which will often relate to personally sensitive matters.
Who we are:
Data Controller and Data Processor: David Swarbrick, of 10 Halifax Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire HD6 2AG, UK
Tel: (International) +44 (0) 1484 320386; +44 (0) 795 457 9992, or (UK) 01484 380326 and 0795 457 9992
We are registered with the Information Commissioner.
A cookie is a small piece of text placed on your computer which identifies the site you visited (us) and minimal information about your visit. Typically it is used to so that when you return to a site, your software knows, for example which pages you may have already viewed.
Our website runs WordPress and Google-Adsense software. Both collect information about visits to the site. We use Google Analytics to collect non-personal details.
We collect no other information about visitors than are provided by the above.
You can learn as much a you need to know about cookies at http://www.allaboutcookies.org/
We thank you for your enquiry, and we do acknowledge and understand your concern.
We collect and publish the information for use by those involved in the law, whether as professional lawyers, law students or academics, or as litigants. Our aim, as a law reporting service, is to help them identify principles of law and where, in case law, they may be found.
It is a fundamental that justice must be open: “Publicity is the very soul of justice. It is the keenest spur to exertion and the surest of all guards against improbity.” (Lord Shaw of Dunfermline HL, Scott v Scott  AC 417 – https://swarb.co.uk/scott-v-scott-hl-5-may-1913/).
Over the last few years there have been highly charged campaigns by national newspapers and some MPs complaining that court judgments were not available publicly. The courts have reacted by now publishing many cases which would not have been published before.
In January 2016, in the Supreme Court, in the case of Regina (on the application of C) -v- Secretary of State for Justice, Lady Hale re-inforced the above and said: “the names of the people whose cases are being decided, and others involved in the hearing, should be public knowledge.”
A party to any court proceedings must anticipate that the decision will usually be made publicly available. The judges in your case and the system within which they work goes to considerable trouble and expense exactly to ensure that the decision is available to the public in the form which the court selects. We are nothing more or less than part of that system.
A litigant may request that his or her case be anonymised before publication, and courts will often take that step without being asked. You may or may not have made such a request. Whether you so requested or not, your case was not anonymised. It was therefore published with your name, and it will always remain a matter of public record. Neither we nor you can change that. Often, the cases we refer to will additionally have appeared in full, permanent and printed form in several series, and will in any event (if it gets to us) already be available in other places online.
A second principle is the doctrine of judicial precedent. The reporting of case law is essential so that those involved in later cases can identify legal principles, and later courts can apply them. The centuries old and continuing tradition is that cases are referred to by the names of the parties. This bit of law has its equivalent in every legal jurisdiction we know of.
When your case was argued, you or your lawyers will typically have presented arguments which relied upon the cases of those who had made arguments similar to your own in earlier cases. You (or your counsel) used the names of those involved in those earlier cases to identify those cases. That process is entirely dependent upon earlier case law being made available to subsequent litigants through the profession of law reporting and the publication of judgments.
More relevantly, it is simply not possible for your case to disappear in the way you request. The case in its full text, as published by the court for this exact purpose, is very likely to be held openly on at least two sites, be indexed on others, and is very probably available on several other subscription sites to which you and we have no access. Even if we were to remove your case as you request, there are sites which retain automatically earlier versions of existing websites. There may also be printed editions of your case published by others and which will always be available for anyone seeking your case.
You may have seen reference the case in 2014 at the European Court: “Google Spain SL, Google Inc. v Agencia Espanola de Proteccion de Datos, Gonzalez”
See (http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2014-05/cp140070en.pdf). The Court there decided that a search engine must consider such requests properly, and decide whether the search result should be deleted. Please note that the decision explicitly relates to a search engine only, and that the case against the online publisher of information about the case failed.
We are not a search engine, and are not directy affected by the ruling. A footnote to the Opinion in the case says: “Specific issues relating to search engines operating within a defined internet domain (or website) such as http://curia.europa.eu are not discussed in this opinion.” Even so, we will attempt to respect the principles it identifies.
Material which contributes to our purpose, and may be of proper help to those we set out to support will, in general, be retained. Law reporting is a proper part of the legal process, and indeed the Gonzalez Opinion and Judgment each refer to and rely upon principles of law set out in established case law as identified by the name(s) of the parties involved in those cases. The name ‘Gonzalez’ has, ironically, become an essential part of the legal discussion of the issue of removing names from cases.
Where we provide a factual summary, it should accurately reflect the facts found by the court, with enough detail to explain the context in which the legal principle was identified, but avoiding details unnecessary to the legal point at issue. We emphasise that we try to reflect the facts as found by the court. We accept of course that a party may have a different view of the facts in issue, and that an appeal may be outstanding. Our interest is in the legal issues. Those can only be assessed in the light of the facts as found. We welcome comments about our summary, but it must be understood that we are reporting the facts as found by the court, and not attempting any more fundamental investigation as to any underlying truth of those findings. We make no judgment as to the facts of any case.
Several factors may affect our response to a request to different extents according to circumstances. Among them are:
- Any decision by the court as to anonymisation,
- The sensitivity of the issues,
- Any known vulnerability of a party,
- Any new or clear restatement of a point of law,
- The case being cited in other cases,
- The citation within the case of other cases by name,
- The availability of the judgment on other web-sites and in paper forms,
- Can unnecessary identifiers be reduced,
- The age of the case,
- The court level (tribunal, divisional or higher)
- Who originated the case,
- Are we clear that the person originating the request is the person at issue
- To what extent has our listing been used.
Other factors may also be relevant and will be applied.
We will exercise our best judgment as to how we present a case.
We do try to make an individual and respectful assessment of each individual case. Sometimes we are able to do either entirely as requested, or in part, and sometimes not.
Please note also that any change within the database may take several days to work its way through to the web-site, and again similarly before it is reflected in any third party search engine.