Press release: Intelligence Services Commissioner: Sir John Goldring

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  1. The Prime Minister has approved the appointment of Sir John Goldring as the Intelligence Services Commissioner until the post is abolished in accordance with the Investigatory Powers Bill. The role will be wound up under provisions which will see the existing oversight framework overhauled, and a stronger Investigatory Powers Commissioner introduced.

    Sir John will take up appointment on 1 January 2017. The current Intelligence Services Commissioner, Sir Mark Waller, will be retiring on 31 December 2016, having served 6 years in the role.

    Biographical Notes


    The Rt Hon Sir John Goldring, 71, was called to the Bar in 1969 and became a QC in 1987. He was appointed a High Court Judge of the Queen’s Bench Division in December 1999. Between 2002 and 2005 he was Presiding Judge of the Midland Circuit.

    He was appointed as a judge of the Court of Appeal and Deputy Senior Presiding Judge in October 2008 and Senior Presiding Judge on 1 January 2010 until December 2012. Sir John retired as a judge in November 2014. He has recently concluded the Hillsborough Inquest.

    He has been President of the Court of Appeal in the Cayman Islands since February 2016.

    Notes for Editors


    Section 59(1) of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (‘RIPA’) provides for the Prime Minister to appoint an Intelligence Services Commissioner, to perform a number of statutory functions under that Act. The Intelligence Services Commissioner may be required to perform additional functions by the Prime Minister under section 59A of RIPA inserted by the Justice and Security Act 2013.

    The Intelligence Services Commissioner oversees the use of intrusive powers such as interference with property, section 7 authorisations under ISA, intrusive surveillance, directed surveillance and the use of Covert Human Intelligence Sources (CHIS)

    The Commissioner’s specific remit is to:


    • Keep under review the exercise by the Secretary of State of his powers to issue, renew and cancel warrants for entry on or interference with property including Equipment Interference.


    • Keep under review the exercise by the Secretary of State of his powers to give, renew and cancel Section 7 authorisations under ISA for acts done outside the UK including Equipment Interference.


    • Keep under review the exercise and performance by the Secretary of State of his powers to grant authorisations for intrusive surveillance and the investigation of electronic data protected by encryption in relation to the activities of the intelligence services and (except in Northern Ireland) of Ministry of Defence (MOD) officials and members of the armed forces.


    • Keep under review the exercise and performance by members of the intelligence services to grant authorisations for directed surveillance and for the conduct and use of CHIS and the investigation of electronic data protected by encryption.


    • Keep under review the exercise and performance in places other than Northern Ireland by MOD officials and members of the armed forces to grant authorisations for directed surveillance and the use of CHIS and the investigation of electronic data protected by encryption.


    • Keep under review the adequacy of the Part III safeguards arrangements in relation to the members of the intelligence services.


    • Keep under review the adequacy of the Part III safeguards arrangements in relation to officials of the MOD and members of the armed forces in places other than Northern Ireland.


    • Give the Investigatory Powers Tribunal all such assistance as it may require in connection with its investigation, consideration or determination of any matter.


    • Make an annual report to the Prime Minister on the carrying out of the Commissioner’s functions.


    • Under section 13(3)(b) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005 the Home Secretary is required to consult, amongst others, the Intelligence Services Commissioner before asking Parliament to extend the control order provision for a further period.


    • Keep under review the acquisition, use, retention, disclosure, storage and deletion of bulk personal datasets including the misuse of data and how this is prevented.


    • Monitor compliance with the Consolidated Guidance to Intelligence Officers and Service Personnel on the Detention and Interviewing of Detainees Overseas, and on the Passing and Receipt of Intelligence Relating to Detainees and any other extra-statutory duties that the Prime Minister may from time to time ask the Commissioner to take on and which the Commissioner is willing to undertake.

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