Complaints the Tribunal can consider

The Tribunal can consider any complaint by a person who believes that he or she:

  • Has been the victim of unlawful interference by public authorities using covert techniques regulated under RIPA.

A complaint can be about any interference which the complainant believes has taken place against him, his property or communications.  This includes interception, surveillance and interference with property.  The public authorities include security and intelligence agencies, military and law enforcement agencies as well as a range of Government Departments, regulators and local authorities; or

  • Has been the victim of a Human Rights violation

Claims can relate to the use of covert techniques by intelligence, military and law enforcement agencies and to a wider range of human rights breaches believed to have been committed by the SIA’s. 

The Security and intelligence agencies are: the Secret Intelligence Service (or 'MI6') the Security Service (sometimes called 'MI5'), and GCHQ (the Government Communications Headquarters).  ‘Military’ includes army, navy and air force, and law enforcement includes both national and territorial Police forces. 

Complaints about interference by public authorities may also be made to the ordinary courts instead of the Tribunal, but the Tribunal has additional powers of investigation which a court does not have. In cases of Human Rights breaches involving the security and intelligence agencies, the Tribunal is the only forum that can decide the complaint.

A decision that the Tribunal will not investigate a claim will be made by two Members of the Tribunal. Once accepted, all complaints of whatever nature must always be considered and decided by at least two Members of the Tribunal. If difficult issues of law are involved the Tribunal will normally convene a panel of up to five Members.


Last updated: 5 Jul 16