Legal Professional Privilege and the Data Protection Act


In an important judgment handed down on 24 January 2017 by Warby J, the High Court has addressed a number of issues arising out of the subject access right in section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998. Holyoake v Candy & CPC Group Ltd[2017] EWHC 52 (QB) concerned a subject access request made in respect of suspected use of private investigators, against a context of a long-standing dispute – resulting in forthcoming multi-million proceedings in the Chancery Division – between property developers.

Dismissing the claim, Warby J gives useful guidance on: a reasonable search for personal data and the privilege issues which arise when lawyers conduct the searches; the extent to which private email accounts of employees require searching; the application of the LPP exemption in paragraph 10 of Schedule 7; the use of private investigators in the context of the section 55 criminal offence and the iniquity exception to LPP; whether the iniquity exception extends to a breach of fundamental rights, such as those in the DPA, which does not amount to a criminal offence; and the applicable test the Court should apply when considering whether to inspect material said to be subject to LPP under section 15(2) of the DPA.

Anya Proops KC and Robin Hopkins, instructed by gunnercooke LLP, appeared for the Claimant. Timothy Pitt-Payne KC and Christopher Knight, instructed by Grosvenor Law, appeared for the Defendants.

The judgment can be found here.