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Interception of Communications Act 1985 (c.56)
Search lawindexpro for case law on this statute.
This document is for private study purposes only. It is likely not to reflect the law as it stands today. It may be incomplete, and some provisions are likely to have been repealed or amended, and new ones inserted.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

1. Prohibition on interception.

2. Warrants for interception.

3. Scope of warrants.

4. Issue and duration of warrants.

5. Modification of warrants etc.

6. Safeguards.

7. The Tribunal.

8. The Commissioner.

9. Exclusion of evidence.

10. Interpretation.

11. Amendments, saving and repeal.

12. Short title, commencement and extent.

SCHEDULES:

Schedule 1-The Tribunal.

Schedule 2-Section substituted for section 45 of 1984 Act.

An Act to make new provision for and in connection with the interception of communications sent by post or by means of public telecommunication systems and to amend section 45 of the Telecommunications Act

Prohibition on interception

1.-(1) Subject to the following provisions of this section, a person who intentionally intercepts a communication in the course of its transmission by post or by means of a public telecommunication system shall be guilty of an offence and liable

  1. on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum;
  2. on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to a fine or to both.

(2) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this section if-

  1. the communication is intercepted in obedience to a warrant issued by the Secretary of State under section 2 below; or
  2. that person has reasonable grounds for believing that the person to whom, or the person by whom, the communication is sent has consented to the interception.

(3) A person shall not be guilty of an offence under this section if-

  1. the communication is intercepted for purposes connected with the provision df postal or public telecommunication services or with the enforcement of any enactment relating to the user of those services; or
  2. the communication is being transmitted by wireles telegraphy and is intercepted, with the authority of the Secretary of State,

for purposes connected with the issue of licences under the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1949 or the prevention or detection of interference with wireless telegraphy.

(4) No proceedings in respect of an offence under this section shall be instituted-

  1. in England and Wales, except by or with the consent of the director of Public Prosecutions;
  2. In Northern Ireland, except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland.

Warrants for interception

2.-(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and section 3 below, the Secretary of State may issue a warrant requiring the person to whom it is addressed to intercept, in the course of their transmission jby post or by means of public telecommunication system, such communications as are described in the warrant; and such a warrant may also require the person to whom it is addressed to disclose the intercepted material to such persons and in such manner as are described in the warrant.

(2) the Secretary of State shall not issue a warrant under this section unless he considers that the warrant is necessary in the interests of national security;

(a) for the purpose of preventing or detecting serious crime or;

... (c) for the purpose of safeguarding the economic well-being of the United Kingdom.

(3) The matters to be taken into account in considering whether a warrant is necessary as mentioned in subsection (2) above shall include whether the information which it is considered necessary to acquire could reasonably be acquired by other means.

(4) A warrant shall not be considered necessary as mentioned in subsection (2)(c) above unless the information which it is considered necessary to acquire is information relating to the acts or intentions of persons outside the British Islands.

(5) References in the following provisions of this Act to a warrant are references to a warrant under this section.

...

Exclusion of evidence

9.-(1) In any proceedings before any court or tribunal no evidence shall be adduced and no question in cross-examination shall be asked which (in either case) tends to suggest-

(a) that offence under section 1 above has been or is to be committed by any of the persons mentioned in subsection (2) below; or

(b) that a warrant has been or is to be issued to any of those persons.

(2) The persons referred to in subsection (1) above are

(a) any person holding office under the Crown;

(b) the 'Post Office 'and any person engaged in the business of the Post Office; and

(c) any public telecommunications operator and any person engaged in the running of a public telecommunication system.

(3) Subsection (1) above does not apply-

(a) in relation to proceedings for a relevant offence or proceedings before the Tnbunal; or

(b) where the evidence is adduced or the question in cross-examination is asked for the purpose of establishing the fairness or unfairness of a dismissal on grounds of an offence under section 1 above or of conduct from which such an offence might be inferred; and paragraph (a) of that subsection does not apply where a person has been convicted of the offence under that section.

(4) In this section "relevant offence" means:-

(a) an offence under section 1 above or under section 45 of the Telegraph Act 1863, section 20 of the Telegraph Act 1868, section 58 of the Post Office Act 1953 or section 45 of the 1984 Act;

(b) an offence under section 1 or 2 of the Official Secrets Act 1911 relating to any sketch, plan, model, article, note, document or information which tends to suggest as mentioned in subsection (1) above;

(c) perjury committed in the course of proceedings for a relevant offence;

(d) attempting or conspiring to commit, or aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring the commission of, an offence falling within any of the preceding paragraphs; and

(e) contempt of court committed in the course of, or in relation to, proceedings for a relevant offence.

DEFINITION

"Public telecommunications operator": has the same meaning as in the Telecommunications Act 1984 viz. a person authorised by a licence under that Act to run a public telecommunications system, for which see s.1 above.

GENERAL

The Tribunal set up by this Act provides an exclusive remedy. This section precludes examination or cross-examination (in the course of any proceedings whatsoever) which tend to suggest that a s.1 offence has been committed (by the persons mentioned in subs. (2)) or that a warrant has been issued to any of those persons.

Interpretation

10.-(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires

"the 1984 Act" means the Telecommunications Act 1984;

"address" means any postal or telecommunication address;

"copy", in relation to intercepted material, means any of the following, whether or not in documentary form-

...

any of the identities of the persons to or by whom the material was sent,

and cognate expressions shall be construed accordingly;

"external communication" means a communication sent or received outside the British Islands;

"high judicial. office" has the same meaning as in the Appellate Jurisdiction Act 1876;

"intercepted material", in relation to a warrant, means the communications intercepted in obedience to that warrant;

"person" includes any organisation and any association or combination of persons;

"public telecommunications operator" and "public telecommunication system" have the same meanings as in the 1984 Act;

"public telecommunication service" means a telecommunication service provided by means of a public telecommunication system;

"statutory maximum" has the meaning given by section 74 of the Criminal Justice Act 1982;

"telecommunication service" has the same meaning as in the 1984 Act;

All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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Copyright and Database Rights: David Swarbrick 2012
25 November 2012
http://www.swarb.co.uk/acts/1985InterceptionCommunicationsAct.html ver 9 July 2010