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Legal Framework

Under this tab you will find guidance on the legal framework governing the use of data. It is essential that you are aware of the obligations which arise under this framework and that you understand how to comply with any legal requirements.


The information given within this tab is very detailed; the reason for this is that this tab seeks to provide you with sufficient guidance to enable you to have a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework which is relevant to the use of information for research purposes. More succinct, practical guidance is given in the route-maps which aim to provide you with a step-by-step guide to legal and ethical requirements as they relate to each step of making an application to access data and ensuring the security of data during your research project.


Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA)

This is the core piece of legislation governing the use of information. This section gives information on the key concepts and principles in the DPA and guidance as to how they are applicable in a research context.

Data Protection Act

Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA)

Guidance on how the HRA applies to the use of data and specific information on the applicability of article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Route Map

Common Law of Confidentiality

Information of how the common law of confidentiality applies to the secondary use of the patient identifiable data.

Route Map

Freedom of Information Acts

Guidance on how the Freedom of Information Acts are relevant to researchers and data controllers.

Route Map

Sector-Specific Legislation

Specific information of the key pieces of legislation which are relevant to sectors potentially involving in sharing patient data.

Route Map

Relationship between the legal concepts

Guidance on how the legal concepts of confidentiality, consent, autonomy and public interest interact with each other.

Route Map