5 Essex Court


23 May 22 Back to Listing

Alan Payne QC, Jason Beer QC, Amy Clarke and Bobby Talalay appear in the Court of Appeal in case concerning retention of acquittal information

Alan Payne QC and Amy Clarke appeared for the Respondent Chief Constable of South Wales Police and Jason Beer QC and Bobby Talalay appeared for the Intervener National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) in an appeal concerning the lawfulness of the retention of information relating to an acquittal for rape, as well as other intelligence records: YZ v Chief Constable of South Wales Police [2022] EWCA Civ 683.

The appeal arose from Judicial Review proceedings that were successfully defended by Amy Clarke in 2021. The original challenge had been concerned with both retention of acquittal information on PNC, and other detailed records held locally by South Wales Police relating to the acquittal and other safeguarding related issues.

The appeal focused on (a) whether the NPCC’s Guidance placed an evidential burden on an applicant seeking deletion of his data from the police national computer (PNC) (b) whether the Court below had properly applied the test of strict necessity as found in the Data Protection Act 2018, (c) whether retention of data under the MoPI and NPCC Guidance satisfies the requirements of the DPA, and represents a breach of art.8 of the ECHR.

In the absence of a direct challenge to any of the national guidance on the retention and processing of information, the Court proceeded on the basis that both were lawful and then went on to reject the challenge on all grounds. In coming to its decision, the Court considered that the NPCC’s guidance did not impose an evidential burden on the applicant but started from the position that it was strictly necessary and proportionate to retain information on the PNC unless there were exceptional circumstances – in practice, where the record is inaccurate or where there is some wider public interest involved. The Court held that the judge below did not err either in his approach to applying the test of strict necessity or in judging the approach taken by the Respondent to the request to delete the data as satisfying the requirements of both the DPA 2018 and art.8 of the ECHR.

A copy of the Judgment can be found online here.

Alan Payne QC and Amy Clarke were instructed on behalf of the Chief Constable of South Wales Police.

Jason Beer QC and Bobby Talalay were instructed on behalf of the National Police Chiefs’ Council.