Case details

R (on the application of Privacy International) (Appellant) v Investigatory Powers Tribunal and others (Respondents)

Case ID: UKSC 2018/0004

Case summary


Whether s67(8) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 ("RIPA") precludes judicial review of a decision of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal ("IPT").


The Appellant made a complaint to the IPT that GCHQ had been conducting unlawful computer network exploitation activity (i.e. hacking). One issue of the complaint was whether, if and to the extent that GCHQ had been carrying on computer hacking of the Appellant, it had done so pursuant to a lawful warrant issued by the Secretary of State.

The IPT gave a judgment holding that section 5 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 ("ISA 1994"), which empowers the Secretary of State to grant warrants authorising only "specified" acts in respect of "specified" property, permits the grant of general warrants authorising a broad class of possible activity in respect of a broad class of possible property. On 9 May 2016, the Appellant commenced judicial review proceedings seeking to challenge the IPT’s decision. On 2 February 2017, the Divisional Court decided that the judicial review claim was precluded by s67(8) of RIPA. The Appellant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal was dismissed.

Judgment appealed

[2017] EWCA Civ 1868



Privacy International

  1. Investigatory Powers Tribunal
  2. Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
  3. Government Communications Headquarters



Lady Hale, Lord Reed, Lord Kerr, Lord Wilson, Lord Sumption, Lord Carnwath, Lord Lloyd-Jones

Hearing start date

03 Dec 2018

Hearing finish date

04 Dec 2018

Watch hearing
03 Dec 2018 Morning session Afternoon session
04 Dec 2018 Morning session Afternoon session