Investigatory Powers Tribunal

The Investigatory Powers Tribunal is an independent judicial tribunal established in October 2000, as a result of the enactment of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, to hear complaints about surveillance by public bodies. IPT is a tribunal non-departmental public body of the Home Office.

In October 2013 Mr Justice Burton was appointed as President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal for five years until September 2018.[1]

The IPT operates out of a Home Office building in Whitehall.[2]

Open hearings

Hearings are often closed and made without informing the complainant beforehand.[3]

The IPT has had the following open hearings[4]
  • 2003 - Kennedy, British Irish Watch and Others v. the Security Service, GCHQ, SIS and the Metropolitan Police Service
  • 2004 - B v. the Security Service
  • 2006 - C v. the Police and the Home Office
  • 2006 - National Black Police Association and Others v. the Metropolitan Police Service
  • 2008 - Frank-Steiner v. the Data Controller, SIS
  • 2009 - Jenny Patton and Others v. Poole Borough Council
  • 2012 - Vaughan v. South Oxfordshire District Council
  • 2012 - BA and Others v. Cleveland Police
  • 2013 - A Complaint of Surveillance

The following hearing was originally closed, but was made open by the release of a full transcript:

  • 2003 - Rulings of the Tribunal on Preliminary Issues of Law





  1. Appointment – Mr Justice Burton, IPT, 2013-10-13
  2. 'Independent' court scrutinising MI5 is located inside Home Office, Guardian, 2014-03-05
  3. How Belhaj challenge to UK courts put spotlight on closed hearings, Guardian, 2014-01-15
  4. Hansard, 2013-11-27