Wood v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis: CA 21 May 2009

The appellant had been ostentatiously photographed by the police as he left a company general meeting. He was a peaceful and lawful objector to the Arms Trade. He appealed against refusal of an order for the records to be destroyed. The police had refused to disclose elements of their policies for overt photography.
Held: The appeal succeeded. The interference with the subject’s human rights was not proportionate (Laws LJ dissenting). Not only must the impugned act have some basis in domestic law, but also that it should be compatible with the rule of law and be accessible to the person concerned who must be able to foresee its consequences for him. Ordinarily the taking of photographs in a public street involves no element of interference with anyone’s private life and therefore will not engage Article 8(1), although the later publication of such photographs may be a different matter. However: ‘On the particular facts the police action, unexplained at the time it happened and carrying as it did the implication that the images would be kept and used, is a sufficient intrusion by the State into the individual’s own space, his integrity, as to amount to a prima facie violation of Article 8(1). It attains a sufficient level of seriousness and in the circumstances the appellant enjoyed a reasonable expectation that his privacy would not be thus invaded. ‘
The content of the phrase ‘private and family life’ is very broad indeed, and ‘The notion of the personal autonomy of every individual marches with the presumption of liberty enjoyed in a free polity: a presumption which consists in the principle that every interference with the freedom of the individual stands in need of objective justification. Applied to the myriad instances recognised in the Article 8 jurisprudence, this presumption means that, subject to the qualifications I shall shortly describe, an individual’s personal autonomy makes him – should make him – master of all those facts about his own identity, such as his name, health, sexuality, ethnicity, his own image, of which the cases speak; and also of the ‘zone of interaction’ . . between himself and others. He is the presumed owner of these aspects of his own self; his control of them can only be loosened, abrogated, if the State shows an objective justification for doing so.’
Laws LJ said: ‘ the content of the phrase ‘private and family life’ is very broad indeed. Looking only at the words of the Article, one might have supposed that the essence of the right was the protection of close personal relationships. While that remains a core instance, and perhaps the paradigm case of the right, the jurisprudence has accepted many other facets; so many that any attempt to encapsulate the right’s scope in a single idea can only be undertaken at a level of considerable abstraction. But it is an endeavour worth pursuing, since we need if possible to be armed at least with a sense of direction when it comes to disputed cases at the margin.’

Dyson LJ, Lord Collins, Laws LJ
[2009] EWCA Civ 414, Times 01-Jun-2009, [2010] 1 WLR 123, [2010] EMLR 1, [2009] UKHRR 1254, [2009] 4 All ER 951, [2009] HRLR 25, [2009] ACD 75
European Convention on Human Rights 8 810
England and Wales
CitedVon Hannover v Germany ECHR 24-Jun-2004
Princess Caroline of Monaco who had, at some time, received considerable attention in the media throughout Europe, complained at the publication of photographs taken of her withour her permission.
Held: There was no doubt that the publication . .
CitedMarper v United Kingdom; S v United Kingdom ECHR 4-Dec-2008
(Grand Chamber) The applicants complained that on being arrested on suspicion of offences, samples of their DNA had been taken, but then despite being released without conviction, the samples had retained on the Police database.
Held: . .
CitedRice v Connolly 1966
No Legal Duty to Assist a Constable
At common law there is no legal duty to provide the police with information or otherwise to assist them with their inquiries. Lord Parker set out three questions to be answered when asking whether there had been an obstruction of an officer in the . .
CitedIordachi And Others v Moldova ECHR 10-Feb-2009
. .
CitedMurray v Big Pictures (UK) Ltd; Murray v Express Newspapers CA 7-May-2008
The claimant, a famous writer, complained on behalf of her infant son that he had been photographed in a public street with her, and that the photograph had later been published in a national newspaper. She appealed an order striking out her claim . .
CitedSporrong and Lonnroth v Sweden ECHR 18-Dec-1984
Balance of Interests in peaceful enjoyment claim
An interference with the peaceful enjoyment of possessions must strike a fair balance between the demands of the general interests of the community and the requirements of the protection of the individual’s fundamental rights. This balance is . .
CitedGillan, Regina (on the Application of) v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis and Another HL 8-Mar-2006
The defendants said that the stop and search powers granted under the 2000 Act were too wide, and infringed their human rights. Each had been stopped when innocently attending demonstrations in London, and had been effectively detained for about . .

Cited by:
CitedAB, Regina (On the Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another Admn 4-Sep-2009
The claimant was serving a sentence of imprisonment. She was a pre-operative transgender woman, but held in a male prison. She sought review of a decision to refuse transfer to a women’s prison. The Gender Recognition Panel was satisfied that the . .
CitedBary and Others, Regina (on The Application of) v Secretary of State for Justice and Another Admn 19-Mar-2010
The applicants, incarcerated at Long Lartin pending extradition or deportation, challenged a decision further restricting their movements within the prison. All were unconvicted, and all but one were suspected of terrorist crimes. The changes were . .
CitedJR38, Re Application for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland) SC 1-Jul-2015
The appellant was now 18 years old. In July 2010 two newspapers published an image of him. He was at that time barely 14 years old. These photographs had been published by the newspapers at the request of the police. The publication of the . .
CitedZXC v Bloomberg Lp CA 15-May-2020
Privacy Expecation during police investigations
Appeal from a judgment finding that the Defendant had breached the Claimant’s privacy rights. He made an award of damages for the infraction of those rights and granted an injunction restraining Bloomberg from publishing information which further . .
CitedHRH The Duchess of Sussex v Associated Newspapers Ltd ChD 11-Feb-2021
Defence had no prospect of success – Struck Out
The claimant complained that the defendant newspaper had published contents from a letter she had sent to her father. The court now considered her claims in breach of privacy and copyright, and her request for summary judgment.
Held: Warby J . .
CitedMiller v The College of Policing CA 20-Dec-2021
Hate-Incident Guidance Inflexible and Unlawful
The central issue raised in the appeal is the lawfulness of certain parts of a document entitled the Hate Crime Operational Guidance (the Guidance). The Guidance, issued in 2014 by the College of Policing (the College), the respondent to this . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Police, Human Rights

Updated: 30 December 2021; Ref: scu.346308