European Court of Justice data retention ruling

22 December 2016

The Bar Council has called on the Government to propose proper protection for the client's right to legal professional privilege following the European Court of Justice ruling on the legality of the UK's data retention legislation.

A Bar Council spokesperson said:

"The Bar Council welcomes the ruling of the Court of Justice.  During the Parliamentary passage of the Investigatory Powers Act the Bar Council repeatedly warned the Government that blanket retention of data raised serious issues in relation to lawyer-client communications.  The Government refused to listen. 

"The Court has now agreed, confirming its ruling in the Digital Rights Ireland case, that one of many serious problems with "indiscriminate" data retention is that it fails to recognise the strong privacy interest in communication involving "persons whose communications are subject to the obligation of professional secrecy". 

"We now need to see the Government proposing proper protection for the fundamental right of citizens to consult a lawyer privately.  Data about the exercise of this right should not be routinely retained, still less accessed by the authorities."


Notes to Editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

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  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad.

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board