Jim Duffy has successfully defended a GP who refused to comply with a Subject Access Request made by a father in respect of his children’s medical records.

A Child Protection Plan was in place under the ‘Emotional Abuse’ category. When Dr A refused to disclose the children’s medical records and related information, the father complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Dr A explained to the ICO that she considered that disclosing the information would not have been in the children’s best interests.

The ICO investigated and found that Dr A had correctly applied the provisions of a statutory exemption under which a data controller is not obliged to comply with a request where to do so would be likely to cause ‘serious harm’ to a person’s health.

The father issued proceedings challenging the doctor’s determination using section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998.

HHJ Baucher found not only that the exemption had been properly applied, but that Dr A’s decision had been reasonable in the circumstances. This meant that she had not been obliged to comply with the request, pursuant to section 7(4) of the 1998 Act.

Jim was instructed by the MDDUS, which was awarded costs in the full amount claimed.