8 September 2022

Out with the old, in with the new… Prime Minister

By Jess Pembroke, Head of Data Protection 

Key bills relating to data protection and human rights have been delayed or shelved under Liz Truss.  The new Prime Minister will undoubtably bring about many changes; but for those in our sector any proposed changes to human rights and data protection laws are of most interest. 

The UK Bill of Rights was touted as “The government… delivering on our manifesto commitment to overhaul the Human Rights Act” with the aim of, among other changes, affirming “Parliament’s supremacy in the making of laws.”[1] In short, this Bill was about cutting ties with decisions in the EU courts following Brexit. It was announced today that the Bill will be shelved, and the Government will look to deliver its objectives through different approaches.[2] This Bill was strongly championed by Dominic Raab who has now been replaced as justice secretary by Brandon Lewis.

The UK Bill of Rights shelving is extremely important in the data protection world because of its potential impact on the UK’s adequacy decision. The ICO[3] itself had raised concerns in its response to the consultation for this bill that its passing may have risked the loss of the UK’s adequacy decision, without which data could not continue to flow from the EU and the EEA without the need for additional safeguards.

The Data Protection and Digital Information Bill which is the more prominent bill to rock the data protection profession in recent times has also been affected by the new Prime Minister. It was announced on Monday that it would not progress to its second reading in order to “allow Ministers to consider the legislation further”.[4] Michelle Donlan has replaced Nadine Dorris as Digital and Culture Minister, but she may well continue the trajectory started by her predecessor.

The new Prime Minister is likely to have no qualms with ripping up EU regulations and as such it is very possible that the UK’s approach to data protection is set to radically diverge from its EU roots. 

We will be watching this space closely and we report back any subsequent developments in this quickly shifting space. 

Exciting News: Could you benefit from regular bitesize training with a small group of data protection professionals? Our new Data Protection 6-month mentoring programme starts in January 2023. For more information please contact office@naomikorn.com.

[1] Bill of Rights: Bill documents – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

[2] Bill of Rights: Liz Truss shelves plans to reform human rights law – BBC News

[3] ico-response-to-moj-human-rights-act-reform-consultation.pdf

[4] Business Statement – Hansard – UK Parliament

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