Background

Biometrics

Under the  GDPR, biometric data qualifies as special category data, defined as personal data resulting from specific technical processing relating to the physical, physiological or behavioural characteristics of a natural person. Its increasing application in many areas of daily life makes it a hot topic.

Chambers provides unparalleled knowledge and experience in this area, having been heavily involved in Bridges, the only legal case to date directly concerning the lawful use of new biometrics i.e. facial recognition. Our experts offer a unique combination of years of experience in highly sensitive government and law enforcement work with information law, data protection and AI expertise.

We help clients such as police forces and other law enforcement bodies seeking to use now biometrics technologies lawfully post-Bridges, as well as businesses using or seeking to use or being challenged regarding their use of biometric technologies (not just facial recognition but fingerprint / iris/retina / hand geometry /gait recognition etc).

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Our clients can expect from us cutting edge knowledge, experience and discretion in handling highly sensitive and confidential materials and issues.

Examples of recent work include:

  • R (on the application of Edward Bridges) v Chief Constable of South Wales Police (Respondent); The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Interested Party); (1) The Information Commissioner; (2) The Surveillance Camera Commissioner; (3) The Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales (Interveners) [2020] EWCA Civ 1058
    This was and remains the first and only case in the world to consider the use of Automatic Facial Recognition (AFR) (now called Live Facial Recognition – LFR) by law enforcement. It provided guidance for police and law enforcement on the legal framework and lawful use of this technology going forwards.
  • R (on the application of Catt) v Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland R (on the application of T) v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [2015] UKSC 9
    • This decision was relied on in Bridges, as it held that the retention by police of electronic data concerning the Claimant’s participation in demonstrations was not unlawful. [NB this decision did not directly concern biometric technologies but the principles considered are relevant].
  • S v United Kingdom [2009] 48 EHRR 50
    • Cited in Bridges, this decision considered the lawfulness of the retention of fingerprints and DNA samples by police – the earliest biometrics.

To find out about how our team of information law experts can help you, please contact our clerking team.

For more information please contact our clerks.

Call +44 (0) 20 7410 2000 or click here to email

Biometrics Barristers

King's Counsel

Jason Beer KC

Call 1992 | Silk 2011

Fiona Barton KC

Call 1986 | Silk 2011

Anne Studd KC

Call 1988 | Silk 2012

Francesca Whitelaw KC

Call 2003 | Silk 2023

Charlotte Ventham KC

Call 2001 | Silk 2024

Juniors (10+ years)

Andrew Waters

Call 1987

Russell Fortt

Call 1999

Beatrice Collier

Call 2004

Mark Thomas

Call 2006

Georgina Wolfe

Call 2006

Jonathan Dixey

Call 2007

Emma Price

Call 2007

Saara Idelbi

Call 2008

Robert Cohen

Call 2009

Robert Talalay

Call 2010

Alex Ustych

Call 2010

Catriona Hodge

Call 2012

Aaron Moss

Call 2013

Juniors (under 10 years)

John Goss

Call 2015

Peter Laverack

Call 2015

Aimee Riese

Call 2016

David Messling

Call 2017

Jennifer Wright

Call 2018

Conor Monighan

Call 2019

Paige Jones

Call 2021

Jack Palmer

Call 2022

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