Monthly Archives: September 2016

Information as an Asset: the business benefits of preserving records for providers of legal services

Legal recordsThe second Legal Records at Risk seminar will be held in the IALS Conference Room, 23 November 2016, 2-5.30 pm.

Background

The 2004 Clementi report: Review of the regulatory framework for legal services in England and Wales suggested that it was time for the providers of legal services to act in a more business-like way:

“Research shows that complaints arise as much from poor business service as from poor legal advice… In developing business systems to minimise costs whilst maintaining high standards, there is no reason why lawyers should not work alongside those with other skills, for example in finance or IT.”  

To this the Legal Records at Risk project would add information management. Recent developments (changes to legal services; globalisation; digital obsolescence) have transformed our legal framework, yet no concerted effort has as yet been made to protect and preserve the private sector records which document these changes.

The Legal Records at Risk Project

The Legal Records at Risk project, led by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and working in collaboration with the legal profession, the research community and archives, including The National Archives and the British Records Association, seeks to develop a national strategy to identify and preserve our legal heritage and to save modern (20th and 21st century) private sector legal records in the UK that may be at risk.

What are the specific benefits to specialized law institutions of managing their records effectively and preserving those of value for internal and external research?  Here are just a few which will be explored in this seminar, along with suggestions as to how they can be achieved:

  • cost and efficiency savings
  • business continuity
  • improved client confidence
  • service to justice
  • enhanced reputation
  • community engagement

Come to the seminar, visit our website or contact the Legal Records at Risk Project Director, Clare Cowling at clare.cowling@sas.ac.uk for information.

Applications open…Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Law & Director: Information Law and Policy Centre

As readers of this blog might already be aware our first Director, Dr Judith Townend, has moved on to a new post at the University of Sussex. This means the Information Law and Policy Centre is now looking for a new Director…

“The Institute of Advanced Legal Studies of the School of Advanced Study is now seeking a Lecturer/Senior Lecturer in Law and Director: Information Law and Policy Centre.

“The role will be responsible for developing the research promotion and facilitation, teaching/training and public engagement for the Information Law & Policy Centre.

“This position is offered at 3 years in the first instance with the possibility of permanent extension after this period.”

For more information and details of how to apply visit the University of London’s vacancy page.

The close date for this role is at midnight on Sunday, 23 October 2016. 

Data Retention and the Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) System: A Gap in the Oversight Regime

ANPR Intercept

The Advocate General’s Opinion in the recent Watson/Tele2 case re-emphasises the importance of considered justification for the collection and storage of personal data which has implications for a variety of data retention regimes. In this post, Lorna Woods, Professor of Internet Law at the University of Essex, considers the legal position of the system used to capture and store vehicle number plates in the UK.

The Data Retention Landscape

Since the annulment of the Data Retention Directive (Directive 2006/24/EC) (DPD) with Digital Rights Ireland (Case C-293/12), it has become clear that the mass retention of data – even for the prevention of terrorism and serious crime – needs to be carefully justified. Cases such as Schrems (Case C-362/14) and Watson/Tele2 (Case C-698/15) re-emphasise this approach. This trend can be seen also in the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, such as Zakharov v. Russia (47143/06) and Szabo v Hungary (11327/14 and 11613/14).

Not only must there be a legitimate public interest in the interference in individuals’ privacy and data protection rights, but that interference must be necessary and proportionate. Mechanisms must exist to ensure that surveillance systems are not abused: oversight and mechanisms for ex ante challenge must be provided.  It is this recognition that seems part of the motivation of the Investigatory Powers Bill currently before Parliament which deals – in the main – with interception and surveillance of electronic communications.

Yet this concern is not limited to electronic communications data, as the current case concerning passenger name records (PNR) data before the Court of Justice (Opinion 1/15) and other ECtHR judgments on biometric data retention (S and Marper v. UK (30562/04 and 30566/04)) illustrate.  Despite the response of the UK government to this jurisprudence, there seems to be one area which has been overlooked – at least with regard to a full oversight regime. That area is automated number plate recognition (ANPR) and the retention of the associated data. Continue reading