Published 24th January 2019

European Court finds UK Government in violation of John Catt’s privacy rights

After an eight year legal battle where he has faced repeated police obfuscation and secrecy John Catt has finally been vindicated in his challenge to the police “domestic extremism” database.

In a damning judgment the European Court has unanimously held the UK government to have violated Mr Catt’s right to privacy, in breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

John Catt said:

“I now expect police forces nationally to respect this ruling, destroy any data they hold on me, on other peaceful protestors and also journalists who are on the database and ensure they focus their resources more wisely in future.”

“I also await a full explanation from the police as to why they failed to disclose all the information they held about me to the Supreme Court in the course of my legal challenge in the UK”.

His lawyer Shamik Dutta said:

“This ruling sets an important precedent that it is unlawful for governments across Europe to label citizens engaged in peaceful protest “domestic extremists” and put them on a searchable database for a potentially indefinite period.

The judgment offers timely protection given the rise of far-right parties and governments across Europe who would wish to place those who oppose them under surveillance for the purposes of persecution and worse.”

Read the full press statement here.

Read the judgment here.

See interview with John Catt and Shamik Dutta on Channel 4 news.

Read the news coverage from the Guardian and Independent.

Contact a member of the Bhatt Murphy team today