Judgments Contacting us

Welcome to the Investigatory Powers Tribunal website.

The Tribunal is a court which investigates and determines complaints which allege that public authorities or law enforcement agencies have unlawfully used covert techniques and infringed our right to privacy, as well as claims against the security and intelligence agencies for conduct which breaches a wider range of our human rights.

More than that, we are at the forefront of our field, operating the most open and equitable process in the world for hearing cases of this sensitivity. We are the first court of our kind to establish 'inter partes' hearings in open court in the security field. These hearings allow us to hear arguments on both sides on the basis of 'assumed facts' without risk to our national security. This means that where there is a substantial issue of law to consider, and without at that stage taking a decision as to whether the allegation in a complaint is true, we invite the parties involved to present issues of law for the Tribunal to decide, which are based on the assumption that the facts alleged in the complaint are true.

This means that we have been able to hold hearings in public, including full adversarial argument, as to whether the conduct alleged, if it had occurred, would have been lawful. We may then hold 'closed' hearings in private to apply the legal conclusions from the open hearings to the facts.

Retirement of the President

27 April 2018

The President of the Tribunal, Sir Michael Burton, has today announced that he will be retiring from the Tribunal upon the expiry of his term of office on 26 September 2018. The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon, commented “I am extremely grateful for all of the work Sir Michael has done for the Tribunal. Sir Michael’s contribution has been substantial, both as President and previously as Vice-President. I wish him well in his retirement”

Sir Michael was appointed Vice-President of the Tribunal when it was first created in October 2000 and he was appointed President in September 2013 following the retirement of Sir John Mummery.

Expressions of interest will be sought from judges of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales for appointment as the new President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal upon Sir Michael’s retirement. The new President will be announced in due course.


  • 28 June 2018: Directions Hearing

    26 Jun 18

    A further directions hearing will be taking place between Kate Wilson v 1) Commissioner Of Police of the Metropolis  and (2) Association of Chief Police Officers in Court 5 of the Employment Appeals Tribunal at 10.30am.

  • 12 & 13 March 2018: Bulk Data Hearing

    6 Mar 18

    A further two day hearing will be taking place between Privacy International v (1) Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2) Secretary for the Home Department (3) Government Communication Headquarters (4) Security Service (5) Secret Intelligence Service in Court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice at 11am.

  • Bulk Data Hearing

    22 Feb 18

    A further hearing will be taking place between Privacy International v (1) Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (2) Secretary of State for the Home Department (3) Government Communications Headquarters (4) Security Service  (5) Secret Intelligence Service in The Royal Courts of Justice in Court 28, not before 15:30.