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Judges’ notes and the right to personal data

The release of a judge’s handwritten notes is likely to have far-reaching consequences, says Alex Aisthorpe

31 July 2017

Since the recent news that a judge’s handwritten notes had been released pursuant to a subject access request (SAR) made under the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA), data protection lawyers have been considering whether this establishes a far-reaching legal precedent for the right to personal data. Since the release, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has also published its decision letter, which clarifies some of its reasoning.

By way of background, Mr and Mrs Percival made various SARs to the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) in 2014 and 2015 relating to employment tribunal litigation. The Percivals were unhappy with the response they received from the MoJ and asked the ICO to conduct an assessment under section 42 of the DPA.

It is understood that the MoJ’s position in response to the assessment process was that: (1) the notes did not form part of a &lsquo...

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