Thursday, December 06, 2007

Admissibility of recorded telephone conversations?

The Barristers' Professional Conduct has made an interesting ruling on the admissibility of telephone conversations recorded by one party. (The decision was in 2006 but appears not to have attracted much attention then.) From the Sunday Business Post:
The Barristers Professional Conduct Tribunal has ruled that a recording of a phone call by a barrister allegedly racially abusing his Romanian client is admissible in proceedings for professional misconduct...

The Bar Council is investigating claims that the barrister, who was acting for the wife, divulged private information about him in a phone call to his secretary. The woman tape-recorded the remarks...

The barrister’s counsel argued that the tape was inadmissible because it had been made without his consent, so was in breach of the Postal and Telecommunications Services Act 1983.

He also claimed that it violated the barrister’s constitutional right to privacy and breached the European Convention on Human Rights. But the tribunal ruled that the 1983 act had been amended by the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993.

Under that legislation, a telephone conversation can be legally recorded by one of the parties involved, without the other’s consent. Tribunal chairman John Gleeson SC said:
"The fact that one party to a telephone conversation records it does not, in the opinion of the tribunal, give rise to a constitutional difficulty or a breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

"After all, a party to a telephone conversation is always capable of giving evidence of the contents of that conversation without any recording apparatus, whether by making a contemporaneous note or by simply recalling in evidence what was said during the conversation."

René Rosenstock has more discussion of the legal issues associated with recording telephone calls in Ireland. The Data Protection Commissioner has a case study on the data protection issues involved here.

(Many thanks to Ronan Lupton for pointing out the Sunday Business Post story.)

1 comment:

  1. I hope my question isn't off topic but can one get the judgments of the barristers professional conduct tribunal?

    If so where?

    If not why not?

    Same goes for the Solicitors disciplinary tribunal.

    My e-mail is

    Gerard Sadlier