5 Essex Court

Francesca Whitelaw

Call 2003

Information Law

Francesca advises and represents public and private bodies in matters involving a broad spectrum of information law issues. Her experience includes addressing issues arising under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; challenges to information disclosed during DBS checks and security vetting procedures; claims under the Data Protection Act and GDPR; and other civil actions and public law challenges concerning information retention and sharing including those involving ECHR rights.

Significant cases include:

Edward Bridges v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2020] EWCA Civ 1058 – with Jason Beer QC, Francesca represented the Chief Constable in the Court of Appeal in the first case in the world to consider the use by police of facial recognition technology by law enforcement agencies.  

R (on the application of HA) v (1) Disclosure and Barring Service (2) Chief Constable of West Midlands Police (3) Secretary of State (Interested Party) [2019] – Appeared on behalf of the Chief Constable of West Midlands Police in successfully resisting a claim for judicial review challenging the disclosure of the applicant’s youth convictions The claim was brought under the GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018 which were not in force at the time of the claims which were the subject of the Supreme Court’s recent decision in In Re an application by Lorraine Gallagher for Judicial Review (Northern Ireland); R (P, G & W) v Secretary of State for the Home Department; R (P) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2019] UKSC. The Claimant has sought permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal.

R v Clodagh Hartley - Represented the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis in the Central Criminal Court at a hearing which arose out of Operation Elveden (the investigation into allegations of inappropriate payments to police officers and public officials opened as a result of documents provided by News International to Operation Weeting, the phone hacking investigation). The case concerned the collateral use of information disclosed in criminal proceedings.