No to Bulk Data Retention: The Watson Case in the CJEU

23 Jan 2017

Days before Christmas, the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) clarified EU law on the bulk retention by governments of communications data. Communications data does not include the content of a communication but does reveal the other information including the sender, recipient, time, place and method of communication. The Grand Chamber ruled that “general and indiscriminate” retention of electronic communications data for the purpose of fighting crime is unlawful. National legislation is also precluded which governs the protection of and access to stored communications data where (i) the objective pursued is fighting crime but is not restricted solely to fighting serious crime, (ii) access is not subject to prior review by a court or independent administrative authority and (iii) there is no requirement that the data be retained within the EU.

Please click here to view the full case note.

Daniel Beard QC and Gerry Facenna QC acted for the United Kingdom Government.

Azeem Suterwalla (instructed by Bhatia Best Solicitors) acted for Mr Brice and Mr Lewis.

The comments made in this case note are wholly personal and do not reflect the views of any other members of Monckton Chambers, its tenants or clients.