Monday, August 08, 2011

Data protection: subject access rights not affected by litigation

The Circuit Court recently gave a significant judgment in Dublin Bus v. Data Protection Commissioner, holding that subject access rights in Ireland are not affected by the fact that civil proceedings are contemplated or ongoing.

In this case Dublin Bus attempted to withhold CCTV footage of an accident from a subject access request, making a number of rather weak arguments which claimed alternatively that the footage was subject to legal professional privilege and/or that the access request constituted some form of interference by the DPC with pending litigation. In the Circuit Court Judge Linnane gave short shrift to these claims, holding that the footage was not privileged, the Data Protection Acts did not contain any exemption in respect of contemplated or pending legal proceedings, and (unlike UK law) the Irish legislation does not permit the court any discretion as to whether to order access.

None of these rulings are surprising (it would have been very surprising indeed if the court had found otherwise) but it is nevertheless useful to have a decision confirming these points. I've placed a copy of the full judgment on Scribd in the hope that it might prove useful for other subject access requests:Dublin Bus v. Data Protection Commissioner

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