Interception of communications under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016
Produced in partnership with Richard Hanstock of Cornerstone Barristers

The following Corporate Crime practice note produced in partnership with Richard Hanstock of Cornerstone Barristers 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?
  • Lawful interception of communications
  • Application for warrant in urgent cases
  • Items subject to legal privilege
  • Journalistic material
  • Duration, renewal, and modification
  • Implementation
  • More...

Interception of communications under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016

The data-ln-csis="274768" data-ln-lnis="5MB7-RB21-DYCN-C0DF-00000-00">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).

In May 2021, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights handed down its ruling in Big Brother Watch v UK, which concerned the previous use of RIPA 2000 to authorise bulk interception activities. The Grand Chamber endorsed the need for bulk interception and international data sharing in a democratic society but recommended various safeguards (such as independent authorisation and safeguards for confidential material) which are now largely reflected in the IPA. The Secretary of State is obliged to review the operation of IPA 2016, s 260 no later than 2022; it is likely that the review will consider IPA 2016 safeguards against the standard set down by the ECtHR. See News Analysis: Another blow for UK’s intelligence gathering regime (Big Brother Watch and others v the United Kingdom).

For more information on the acquisition of communications data without warrant, see Practice Note: Acquisition and disclosure of communications data under the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

Offence of interception

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