Judgments Contacting us

Welcome to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal website.

The Tribunal is a court which investigates and determines complaints which allege that public authorities or law enforcement agencies have unlawfully used covert techniques and infringed our right to privacy, as well as claims against the security and intelligence agencies for conduct which breaches a wider range of our human rights.

More than that, we are at the forefront of our field, operating the most open and equitable process in the world for hearing cases of this sensitivity. We are the first court of our kind to establish 'inter partes' hearings in open court in the security field. These hearings allow us to hear arguments on both sides on the basis of 'assumed facts' without risk to our national security. This means that where there is a substantial issue of law to consider, and without at that stage taking a decision as to whether the allegation in a complaint is true, we invite the parties involved to present issues of law for the Tribunal to decide, which are based on the assumption that the facts alleged in the complaint are true.

This means that we have been able to hold hearings in public, including full adversarial argument, as to whether the conduct alleged, if it had occurred, would have been lawful. We may then hold 'closed' hearings in private to apply the legal conclusions from the open hearings to the facts.

Announcement of the new President

With effect from 27 September 2018, HM The Queen has appointed the Right Honourable Lord Justice Singh as President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. Lord Justice Singh succeeds Sir Michael Burton who retires on 26 September.

Lord Justice Singh will continue to sit in the Court of Appeal.

Lord Justice Singh said:

"I am absolutely delighted to have been appointed to the office of President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and look forward to my new role and guiding the Tribunalís important work.

"I would like to thank and pay tribute to Sir Michael Burton and wish him well in his retirement. Sir Michael has served on the Tribunal since 2000 and has been its President since 2013. His contribution to the Tribunalís efforts and record to date have been invaluable."

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, commented:

"I wish to congratulate Lord Justice Singh on his appointment as President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal. The appointment of a Lord Justice of Appeal as President of the Tribunal ensures that the Tribunal is headed by a senior judge of equivalent status to the Investigatory Powers Commissioner. Lord Justice Singh brings a wealth of experience in the judiciary and expertise in public law which will be crucial to the Tribunalís vital role in hearing complaints concerning the use of investigatory powers."

The Lord Chief Justice also expressed his profound thanks to Sir Michael Burton for his presidency of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal since 2013.

Announcements

  • Tribunal Rules

    12 Oct 18

    The new Tribunal Rules were laid before Parliament on 11 October 2018. Parliament must approve the updated Rules before they come into force. In the meantime the Investigatory Powers Tribunal Rules (2000) continue to apply. The Home Office has also published its response to the consultation that it issued on the proposed new rules in September 2017. 

  • 4th October 2018: Directions Hearing

    2 Oct 18

    A further directions hearing will be taking place between (1) Privacy International (2) Reprieve (3) Committee on the Administration of Justice (4) Pat Finuance Centre v (1) Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2) Secretary of State for the Home Department (3) Government Communications Headquarters (4) Security Service (5) Secret Intelligence Service in Court 28 of the Royal Courts of Justice at 1.30pm.

  • 3rd October 2018: Directions Hearing

    1 Oct 18

    A further directions hearing will be taking place between Kate Wilson v 1) Commissioner Of Police of the Metropolis  and (2) National Police Chiefs’ Council in Court 73 of the Employment Appeals Tribunal at 10.30am at the Royal Courts of Justice.