Extraterritorial Human Rights Obligations in the Context of State Surveillance Activities?

By Vivian Ng & Daragh Murray

On 16 May 2016, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, which was established under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) and provides oversight of public authorities in the United Kingdom (UK), released its decision in Human Rights Watch & Others v The Secretary of State for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office & Others (HRW v Secretary of State). The applicants claimed that UK public authorities unlawfully intercepted, stored and used their information and communications, thereby interfering with their right to respect for private and family life, and their right to freedom of expression, as guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). This post will examine the Tribunal’s decision, and offer some suggestions relevant for consideration should further claims be made to challenge the Tribunal’s decision. There is no possibility of an appeal against the Tribunal’s decision, but complainants can take claims further to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), and these issues have been laid out in light of that possibility.

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