Durant to Take Case to Strasbourg
Michael Durant, seen by some as a campaigner for strong and correct enforcement of the United Kingdom Data Protection Act 1998, but in reality a man fighting for justice, failed to convince the UK courts of his case.
He will now be seeking leave to take his case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
His case as a former Barclays Bank customer is that, following a dispute with the bank, he requested the Financial Services Authority to investigate the dispute. The FSA closed its investigation in 2001. Mr Durant was not informed of the result of the investigation due to confidentiality restrictions. Following an unsuccessful application to the FSA, Mr Durant submitted a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 1998. The request was denied on the grounds that the information was not "personal data" held in a "relevant filing system".
In November 2005 The House of Lords refused Mr Durant leave to appeal. This case has caused either relief or consternation in the UK , depending upon the viewpoint. The matter is complex and the UK Information Commissioner summarises the case in a seven page document, and gives guidelines about the interpretation of this rather awkward difference between the UK and the rest of the European Economic Area.
The case in Strasbourg is against the UK Government. "If a national court doesn't fulfil its obligations under the Convention when it applies national law, the government is responsible," said Tamsin Allen, of Bindmans, the solicitors instructed in the case
This is very much in line with the stance Brussels is taking against the UK over what it regards as imperfect implementation and enforcement of the Data Protection Act 1998. Brussels has given the UK notice that it will be seeking correct implementation and enforcement or will start proceedings against the UK . The exact grounbds have not been made public and attempts to determine these by requesting data under the Freedom of Information Act have been refused.
The background on the case is here