UCL Faculty of Laws


Dr Tom Hickman QC provides evidence on national security case in Germany

16 January 2020

Dr Tom Hickman QC gave evidence to the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany.

Tom Hickman

On Tuesday 14 January, Dr Tom Hickman QC (Reader in Public Law at UCL Lawswas the first witness on comparative law to give evidence before the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany. His evidence, given orally to the court, covered the new interception of communications regime in the UK and the oversight arrangements. He was acting in the capacity as independent expert on UK national security law.

A constitutional complaint has been brought against electronic surveillance practices undertaken by the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst or BND) in Germany by a number of individuals based outside Germany and a French NGO. The case will require the court to resolve whether the Basic Law applies to foreign individuals outside Germany and whether the protections in the domestic interception regime are proportionate.  

The protections for legal professional privilege, medical information and core private relationships are central to the case.

For more details about the case, a press release in English is available here, and another press release here.

You can also view Dr Hickman’s Twitter thread on the case is hereand for his reflections on the Constitutional Court here.