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Investigatory powers commissioner appointed

06 March 2017

The Prime Minister has appointed Lord Justice Adrian Fulford as the first Investigatory Powers Commissioner, who will oversee new surveillance laws.

The role of the Investigatory Powers Commissioner (IPC) is to authorise and oversee the use of Investigatory Powers by public authorities as granted under section 227 of the Investigatory Powers Act 2016.

The legislation came into force at the beginning of 2017 and it legitimizes security services’ rights to gather information on citizens without a warrant. The controversial bill, which has been labelled the ‘snooper charter’ by critics, offers new powers to intelligence agencies and the police, which include:

  • Forcing internet and communications companies to retain users’ web browsing history for 12 months;
  • Allowing intelligence agencies to bulk collect communications data and hack into suspects’ devices; and
  • Grant judges the power to sign off warrants on intrusive surveillance 

Lord Justice Fulford will take up the role as IPC with immediate effect on a three-year term. He qualified as a barrister in 1978 and took Silk in 1994. He was appointed a Recorder of the Crown Court in 1995 and was appointed as High Court Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division on 21 November 2002. He was subsequently appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal on 10 May 2013. In addition to his role as IPC, he will remain a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I’m pleased to announce the appointment of Lord Justice Fulford as the first Investigatory Powers Commissioner. He brings a wealth of experience in the judiciary and expertise in matters of law, which will be crucial to his vital role scrutinising the use of investigatory powers, as part of a world-leading oversight regime.”