New data laws could let Home Office off the hook - Bar warns

5 March 2018

The Bar Council has warned that a change in the UK's data laws could let the Home Office off the hook for making incorrect decisions that can see people wrongly deported or detained.

In a briefing to MPs, the Bar Council explained that the Data Protection Bill will give the Home Office a wide-ranging exemption from its obligation to tell people what data it has on them.

Chair of the Bar, Andrew Walker QC said: "Making a Subject Access Requests is often the only way for people who are in the immigration system to find out crucial information relevant to their immigration status, and even to find out the very basis for adverse decisions that the Home Office has already made about them.

"This information is vital for anyone who is challenging their detention or a deportation notice, or for those making applications for asylum or to remain in the UK.

"Blocking access to this information will insulate the Home Office legitimate challenges to the legality of its decision-making."

"The Home Office's decision-making record is notoriously poor. It is one of the high offices of state and it should be applying the law as Parliament intended, but in the ten years to 2015, it lost a quarter of a million appeals.[1]

"Our laws should ensure that people can correct mistakes when they are made, rather than insulate the Government from legitimate legal challenges."



Notes to Editors 

  1. The Bar Council's briefing on the Data Protection Bill's immigration control exemption is available here:

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

  3. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • 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.