• At Kemp Little, we are known for our ability to serve the very particular needs of a large but diverse technology client base. Our hands-on industry know-how makes us a good fit with many of the world's biggest technology and digital media businesses, yet means we are equally relevant to companies with a technology bias, in sectors such as professional services, financial services, retail, travel and healthcare.
  • Kemp Little specialises in the technology and digital media sectors and provides a range of legal services that are crucial to fast-moving, innovative businesses.Our blend of sector awareness, technical excellence and responsiveness, means we are regularly ranked as a leading firm by directories such as Legal 500, Chambers and PLC Which Lawyer. Our practice areas cover a wide range of legal issues and advice.
  • Our Commercial Technology team has established itself as one of the strongest in the UK. We are ranked in Legal 500, Chambers & Partners and PLC Which Lawyer, with four of our partners recommended.
  • Our team provides practical and commercial advice founded on years of experience and technical know-how to technology and digital media companies that need to be alert to the rules and regulations of competition law.
  • Our Corporate Practice has a reputation for delivering sound legal advice, backed up with extensive industry experience and credentials, to get the best results from technology and digital media transactions.
  • In the fast-changing world of employment law our clients need practical, commercial and cost-effective advice. They get this from our team of employment law professionals.
  • Our team of leading IP advisors deliver cost-effective, strategic and commercial advice to ensure that your IP assets are protected and leveraged to add real value to your business.
  • Our litigation practice advises on all aspects of dispute resolution, with a particular focus on ownership, exploitation and infringement of intellectual property rights and commercial disputes in the technology sector.
  • We have an industry-leading reputation for our outsourcing expertise. Our professionals deliver credible legal advice to providers and acquirers of IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) services.
  • We work alongside companies, many with disruptive technologies, that seek funding, as well as with the venture capital firms, institutional investors and corporate ventures that want to invest in exciting business opportunities.
  • Our regulatory specialists work alongside Kemp Little’s corporate and commercial professionals to help meet their compliance obligations.
  • With a service that is commercial and responsive to our clients’ needs, you will find our tax advice easy to understand, cost-effective and geared towards maximising your tax benefits.
  • At Kemp Little, we advise clients in diverse sectors where technology is fundamental to the ongoing success of their businesses.They include companies that provide technology as a service and businesses where the use of technology is key to their business model, enabling them to bring their product or service to market.
  • We bring our commercial understanding of digital business models, our legal expertise and our reputation for delivering high quality, cost-effective services to this dynamic sector.
  • Acting for market leaders and market changers within the media industry, we combine in-depth knowledge of the structural technology that underpins content delivery and the impact of digitisation on the rights of producers and consumers.
  • We understand the risks facing this sector and work with our clients to conquer those challenges. Testimony to our success is the continued growth in our team of professionals and the clients we serve.
  • We advise at the forefront of the technological intersection between life sciences and healthcare. We advise leading technology and data analytics providers, healthcare institutions as well as manufacturers of medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biotechnological products.
  • For clients operating in the online sector, our teams are structured to meet their commercial, financing, M&A, competition and regulatory, employment and intellectual property legal needs.
  • Our focus on technology makes us especially well positioned to give advice on the legal aspects of digital marketing. We advise on high-profile, multi-channel, cross-border cases and on highly complex campaigns.
  • The mobile and telecoms sector is fast changing and hugely dependent on technology advances. We help mobile and wireless and fixed telecoms clients to tackle the legal challenges that this evolving sector presents.
  • Whether ERP, Linux or Windows; software or infrastructure as a service in the cloud, in a virtualised environment, or as a mobile or service-oriented architecture, we have the experience to resolve legal issues across the spectrum of commercial computer platforms.
  • Our clients trust us to apply our solutions and know-how to help them make the best use of technology in structuring deals, mitigating key risks to their businesses and in achieving their commercial objectives.
  • We have extensive experience of advising customers and suppliers in the retail sector on technology development, licensing and supply projects, and in advising on all aspects of procurement and online operations.
  • Our legal professionals work alongside social media providers and users in relation to the commercial, privacy, data, advertising, intellectual property, employment and corporate issues that arise in this dynamic sector.
  • Our years of working alongside diverse software clients have given us an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of the software marketplace, market practice and alternative negotiating strategies.
  • Working with direct providers of travel services, including aggregators, facilitators and suppliers of transport and technology, our team has developed a unique specialist knowledge of the sector
  • Your life as an entrepreneur is full of daily challenges as you seek to grow your business. One of the key strengths of our firm is that we understand these challenges.
  • Kemp Little is trusted by some of the world’s leading luxury brands and some of the most innovative e-commerce retailers changing the face of the industry.
  • HR Bytes is an exclusive, comprehensive, online service that will provide you with a wide range of practical, insightful and current employment law information. HR Bytes members get priority booking for events, key insight and a range of employment materials for free.
  • FlightDeck is our portal designed especially with start-up and emerging technology businesses in mind to help you get your business up and running in the right way. We provide a free pack of all the things no-one tells you and things they don’t give away to get you started.

Data retention and fundamental human rights: a Leviathan or a Behemoth?

The English law over the last fifteen years on interception and investigatory powers has been dynamic. The Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (‘RIPA’) was introduced in 2000, but in 2014, the CJEU judged that RIPA was not fully compatible with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Liberties (the ‘Charter’). A series of secondary legislation and the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (‘DRIPA’) 2014 was implemented by the government in response to this, but this itself has been subject to further judicial review and scrutiny. In December 2016, the CJEU again declared the UK law here was not compatible with the Charter.

This challenge was first brought by MPs Tom Watson and David Davis (prior to his now cabinet position responsible for exiting the EU), that DRIPA was not compatible with the Charter, and therefore should be repealed or amended to be in accordance with the Charter values. The Court of Appeal referred the matter to the CJEU which gave a clear declaration that DRIPA 2014 “exceeds the limit of what is strictly necessary and cannot be considered to be justified, within a democratic society” (para 107).  The matter has been referred back to the Court of Appeal for a judgment based on that verdict.

At the heart of the matter is the DRIPA requirement for communications providers to retain call logs, traffic data and mobile phone locations data for up to 12 months. While a series of previous verdicts have interpreted this sort of law as only being able to be compatible with the Charter for specific purposes (serious crime), or with specific protections, this verdict went further. The CJEU’s verdict included its view on ‘general and indiscriminate retention’ (para 97): which it states is contrary to the Charter, regardless of protections in place.

The practical impact here is interesting. This is a verdict which the Court of Appeal will take into account in its subsequent verdict which will follow. In any case, the Government repealed the entire DRIPA law at the end of 2016, replacing it with the all new Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (‘IPA’), commencing at the start of 2017. With much the same data retention rights in place in IPA as were in DRIPA, the heart of the judgment CJEU judgement against DRIPA can be mapped by the Court of Appeal against the new provisions of IPA.

Of course, in response to any verdict which declares aspects of data retention under IPA as being incompatible with the Charter, the government could make tweaks to IPA. Those tweaks may well be subject to further challenge and litigation. As Tom Watson and David Davis first raised their concerns in July 2014, the High Court verdict was in July 2015, and the Court of Appeal is yet to implement the CJEU verdict as of 16 January 2017, we may not see a further appeal ever reach a European Court if Theresa May achieves her Brexit timetable.

This does not necessarily mean however that the UK Government can ignore the Charter or equivalent European concerns: for the lawful data export from the EU to the UK (as a third country), it is likely that the would require its laws to be reviewed by the European Commission, which would declare whether they are adequate to protect the rights of citizens, and therefore if data exports should be permitted prima facie. If the UK government adopts a contrary approach to the Charter prior to Brexit, this may colour the Commission’s analysis as to the rigour of UK law as it relates to the fundamental rights of EU citizens.

There will be plenty more turns as the legislation and litigation continue in this arena. For now, the CJEU has struck a significant theoretical blow to the UK’s data interception rights, but the practical matter of bulk data interception is likely to continue regardless.