Nov 142009
 November 14, 2009  Posted by  Court, Non-U.S.

Should records of minor criminal convictions from years ago remain in a database where they would be accessible to many? The UK Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Information Tribunal didn’t think that would be consistent with the Data Protection Act, but in October, the Court of Appeals reversed their orders to remove such records.

As reported at the time:

The Court of Appeals said that the ICO had interfered too far in decisions that police forces alone should be making. Lord Justice Waller quoted with approval a previous Inquiry’s summary of the ICO’s approach.

“Police judgements about operational needs will not be lightly interfered with by the Information Commissioner. His office ‘cannot and should not substitute [their] judgement for that of experienced practitioners’,” that summary said.

“If the police say rationally and reasonably that convictions, however old or minor, have a value in the work they do that should, in effect, be the end of the matter,” said Lord justice Waller in his ruling.

Now the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal that judgement. David Smith, Deputy Commissioner at the ICO, has issued a statement:

“We have carefully considered the judgement of the Court of Appeal and believe it raises important issues not just for these and the many other individuals about whom very minor and aged conviction details are held but also about how the Data Protection Act 1998 is interpreted in practice. It also engages serious questions about the applicability of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights to conviction data held by the police. We have applied to the Supreme Court for leave to appeal and we hope that the application will be successful so that these issues can be examined by the Supreme Court.”

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