Interception of communications under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016
Produced in partnership with Carolina Bracken of 5 Paper Buildings
Interception of communications under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016

The following Corporate Crime practice note Produced in partnership with Carolina Bracken of 5 Paper Buildings provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Interception of communications under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016
  • Offence of interception under IPA 2016, s 3
  • Interception of a communication in the course of transmission
  • What is lawful authority?
  • Procedure for obtaining a warrant
  • Use of intercepted communications in legal proceedings

The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (IPA 2016) provides the legal framework governing the use of covert surveillance by public bodies, a framework which was previously largely, but not exclusively, set out by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA 2000).

The provisions relating to the interception of communications repeal and replace the interception of communications provisions in RIPA 2000. For information on the previous regime under RIPA 2000, see Practice Note: Regulation of investigatory powers under RIPA 2000.

For more information on acquisition of communications data, see Practice Note: Acquisition and disclosure of communications data under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

Offence of interception under IPA 2016, s 3

It is an offence for a person intentionally and without lawful authority to intercept any communication in the course of its transmission by means of public post or public or private telecommunications system in the UK.

A public telecommunications system is any part of the telecommunication system which is offered to the public, or to a substantial section of the public in the UK. Telecommunications system includes mobile telephones and electronic communication and emails.

It is an offence for a person intentionally and without lawful authority to intercept at any place in the UK any communication in the course of its transmission by means of private telecommunications system. There are specific exceptions where the person effecting the interception:

  1. is

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