Line to take - LTT98 - Human Rights Act 1998 - Article 8

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  • Section/Regulation: s41
  • Issue: Human Rights Act 1998 - Article 8
  • Source: Information Tribunal
  • Details: Bluck / Epsom & St Helier University NHS Trust (17 September 2007)
  • Related Lines to Take: LTT41, LTT93, LTT94, LTT95, LTT96, LTT97
  • Related Documents: EA/2006/0090
  • Contact: RM
  • Date: 21/02/2008
  • Policy Reference: LTT98
  • © Copyright Information Commissioner's Office, re-used with permission
  • Original source linked from here: LTT

Line to take

Article 8 of the HRA does not act as statutory bar to the disclosure of private information.

Further Information

The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporates the Council or Europe Convention on Human Rights into UK Law. Article 8 of the Convention provides that there shall be no interference with the right to family and private life.

In the Bluck case the Tribunal considered the right of access to the medical records of the deceased. In broad terms the issues were whether the duty of confidence between doctor and patient survived death and/or whether disclosing the information interfered with the right to privacy of the surviving family members and if so whether this engaged s44.

Ultimately the Tribunal decided that the information was exempt under s41 and so did not make a decision in relation to s44, it did however give a clear indication of its approach to Article 8.

Prior to the Bluck case the Commissioner’s line was that Article 8 did act as a statutory prohibition to disclosing information that would interfere with that right. However in Bluck the Tribunal took a different view. The Tribunal indicated that it “would not be in favour of translating the general principles laid down in Article 8 into the form of specific legal prohibition to which we believe section 44 is intended to apply.” It continued "we do not believe that the effect of the Human Rights Act is to elevate the level of a directly enforceable legal prohibition the general terms of Article 8” (para 31).

The Tribunal’s approach was to use Article 8 as a guide when interpreting the law of confidence.