MISCONDUCT IN PUBLIC OFFICE
The GRO/HMPO Case Study
In the matter of [Ms J] -v- GENERAL REGISTRY OFFICE (UK)
This Case Study brings the spotlight on the operations of the General Registry Office and Her Majesty’s Post Office. Indications are that they are involved in some serious criminality.
The Case-in-Brief as described by [Ms J]:
I submitted a Subject Access Request letter to the General Registry Office (GRO) on 19.04.2020 (regarding the way that they had handled and processed my children’s Birth Certificates). The GRO ignored me. On 14.05.2020 I sent them a Letter-Before-Action; I was intending to have their decision to ignore my Subject Access Request judicially reviewed. The Letter-Before-Action got them moving, and on 18.05.2020, Her Majesty’s Post Office (HMPO) got in touch with me regarding my Subject Access Request – HMPO are the ones who process all the GRO Subject Access Requests.
But HMPO were placing on me onerous demands before they would honour my SAR. I tried to reason with them (see supplied emails and letters), but my reasoning fell on deaf ears. HMPO did not refer to any legal provision upon which they were asking me to provide them with Court Orders. On 02.06.2020 I told the GRO/HMPO that I was going to levy a fee of £10 compensation over their handling of this matter, & that the £10 fee would be doubling by the day beginning from 4 June 2020 up until they honoured my SAR. They finally issued me with a SAR response letter on 16 October 2020, that’s 133 days later.
[133 days later: That’s £10 x 2¹³³ = £1.08890357×10⁴¹ owed.]
In outline, I have sent to the GRO letters dated 14.05.2020, 02.06.2020, 19.09.2020 and 28.10.2020 & many emails in-between. The most significant email I sent them was dated 26th September. That email was accompanied by a ‘Court Order‘ dated 29.05.2020. It was that 26 September email that was at the root of the GRO finally issuing the 16th October response to my SAR (I had to push them a bit more though).
I am not happy with their 16th October response (because the GRO/HMPO refused to provide me with the information that I had requested of them). I further sent the GRO letters of 28.10.2020 and 24.11.2020 to complain, but the matter remains unresolved to this day.
GRO/HMPO argue that they were right to give □□□□□□ County Council (i.e. the Local Authority) copy of my children’s Birth Certificates (despite that those certificates contain my personal information as well). They gave that information to □[Local Authority]□ even though □[Local Authority]□ did not have a Court Order. And yet they refuse to provide me, the Data Subject (in response to my 19.04.2020 SAR application), with the details of the 18.10.2019 application (for duplicate Birth Certificates) that they received. They refuse on the grounds of ‘Data Protection’, to protect the privacy of the party that made the application – I know from viewing □[Local Authority]□ records that it was □[Local Authority]□ that made & paid for the 18.10.2019 application (all without a Court Order). Public Authorities don’t have a right to privacy! The GDPR was created to protect the privacy of ordinary human beings. Public Bodies & Public Officials engaged in the course of their public duties do not have a right to privacy!!!
This brief is accompanied by copy of letters of 14.05.2020, 02.06.2020, 19.09.2020 and 28.10.2020. Emails of: 19.04.2020, 11.05.2020, 13.05.2020, 18.05.2020, 19.05.2020, 22.05.2020 (x2), 29.05.2020 (x2), 02.06.2020, 10.06.2020 (x4), 26.09.2020, 14.10.2020, 21.10.2020 plus the 29th May ‘Court Order’ that is referred to in the email of 26.09.2020 email. Also supplied is copy of the GRO response letter dated 16.10.2020.
Considering that parents are having children taken away into foster care if they refuse to register the birth of their child.
See short description of the story here
Then after the parent registers their child (under compulsion), the GRO goes and gives out the parent-child information to ANYONE who applies? Why? & in the absence of a Court Order too. No respect for privacy whatsoever! Parent name, parent DOB, & parent occupation – then the child details, and the details of the other parent… they give out all that private information to just anyone?
And when [Ms J] the parent asked to see who the GRO/HMPO have given their details to – they gave them to a Public Body organisation, □[Local Authority]□ – the GRO/HMPO cited GDPR as they refused to provide [Ms J] with those details… since when do peeping Toms have a right to privacy?
Citizens’ right to see & analyse how public bodies handle their personal data was not created by the GDPR, it always existed. We live in a world of contract, where full disclosure is the bare minimum, and non-disclosure is fraud, and yet here we have the GRO/HMPO refusing to disclose the information that was in the □[Local Authority]□ application.
Failing to disclose information is a criminal offence contrary to s.3 of the Fraud Act, 2006. In this case the entire s.1 offence is engaged and as well the Common Law Offences of Misconduct in Public Office, and Perverting the Course of Justice.
If the research output available here is anything to go by, the case for mandatory Birth Registration is already a very weak one.
I understand that research output to say that according to the current legislation, there is never a time when the Registrar of Births may refuse to register the child’s birth. I understand it also to say that ‘The consequences [of unregistered birth] are not usually immediate but tend to manifest later in life’. I personally don’t get why they don’t just leave the parents be. Once the child gets to be a Responsible Adult, they can do the Birth Registration themselves. There will always be witnesses available who can testify to the child’s parentage. The child can register their own birth as soon as they are old enough, say from about age 12. I honestly cannot see how it is so important for the state to get the child’s birth registered by force. If the parent doesn’t want to, why force them? The child was not being harmed by the parent’s action? The child is not eligible to vote/drive before the age of 12, and the child will (most certainly) not need a National Insurance Number before the age of 12. A child applying for housing/state benefits? … applying for Student Loan? … Before the age of 12, really? None of these things is a pressing concern that necessitates forcing the Birth Registration issue?
If the parent would ever want to access a service that requires a Birth Certificate (like… say applying for a Passport on the child’s behalf), the parent can always submit application for the Birth Certificate at that time – many people live their entire lives without ever needing a Passport. While we are on the subject… why is the Birth Certificate even a prerequisite for obtaining a Passport please?
In the event of an emergency… never have I seen paramedics asking to see a child’s Birth Certificate before they attend to him, and (as far as I am aware), Doctors in A & E will always treat a child regardless of their immigration status.
Where is the child welfare concern here? The state should just leave the parents alone. The State is forcibly wresting the parental right from its rightful holders as they pretend to be upholding the-rights-of-the-child!
Birth registration enforcement is oppressive, and the Judiciary should have picked up on that and flagged it. I cannot speak for the particular arguments that the child’s father in Re T (A child)  EWHC 1572 (Fam) used, but from my reading of the research output that was prepared on the subject of Birth Registration, I do not see validity in the argument that says a child necessarily suffers harm if his parents choose to not register his/her birth within 42 weeks of the birth. Why does the government not just leave it open for anyone to register the birth of their child at any time – or for the parent to leave it up to the child to decide. The grown child may actually decide that they prefer to not have their birth registered!
As for Deportation… If you were born in a country, you have the right to live there, period. He who would deport you would need to give you the opportunity to defend your right to live there, and once given the opportunity, you bring your witnesses!
Who will be wanting to deport the child, and to what country will they be wanting to deport the child? In the UK (and elsewhere), children don’t carry their Birth Certificates around for to avoid deportation! And in any case, if the case for deportation ever needs to get made (likely never), those same ‘qualifying persons’ who would have registered the birth can step forward and give their testimony regarding the child’s birth date and place of birth – or they can just go and register the birth at that time if they want to. Why the limitation in time for Birth Registration? and why 42 weeks specifically?
So, (a) The actual child welfare issue that is driving the Birth Registration to be forced is not evident, and (b) the reason for limiting the Birth Registration time to 42 weeks is also not clear.
This is forced contract!