Information Technology Law Reports - Volume 18 - Issue 2

This edition of Information Technology Law Reports contains three cases. The first,  (1) Mark Dias (2) Stephen Matthews v The Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, is a ruling from the Investigatory Powers Tribunal that Cleveland Police acted unlawfully in seizing phone records to track a series of leaks. Whatever the subjective belief of the force, there was no lawful basis for obtaining applications to seize phone records under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in 2012. The second case, in the High Court, Jack Monroe v Katie Hopkins, concerned Twitter defamation, in which, for the first time, the ‘serious harm’ test under the Defamation Act 2013 was applied to tweets. Tweets, the court ruled, could be held to the same standard as ‘reputable’ or ‘serious’ publication. The serious harm test was found to be satisfied. There were interesting observations, which will be instructive for future Twitter defamation cases. The third case, in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, M. Cooper v National Crime Agency, was an appeal against the dismissal of the claimant’s claim of unfair dismissal. The appeal was allowed on the second ground concerning the refusal to defer the disciplinary process.

Richard Budworth
Editor,Information Technology Law Reports

(1) Mark Dias (2) Stephen Matthews The Chief Constable of Cleveland Police 
The Investigatory Powers Tribunal 
The President (Sir Michael Burton), Edis J, Charles Flint QC, Professor Graham Zellick QC and Sir Richard McLaughlin
31 January 2017
[2017] UKIPTrib15_586-CH 

Communications data – misconduct in public office – mobile phones – unlawfully obtaining personal data – section 22 Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ‒ section 55 Data Protection Act 1998 – application granted.

Jack Monroe Katie Hopkins 
High Court of Justice
Queen’s Bench Division
Warby J
10 March 2017 
[2017] EWHC 433 (QB)

Defamation – libel – social media – Twitter – disclosure – reputation – whether defamatory tweets – measure of damages – judgment for the claimant.

M. Cooper National Crime Agency 
Employment Appeal Tribunal
16 June 2017
[2017] 6 WLUK 333; UKEAT/0016/17/LA

Employment – data protection – disciplinary procedures – police investigation ‒ fairness – appeal against unfair dismissal – Data Protection Act 1998 – appeal allowed in part.