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John Donovan email correspondence with Shell lawyers 28 Nov 2009

From: John Donovan <[email protected]>
Date: 28 November 2009 10:16:41 GMT
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Data Protection Act 1998 – SAR

Dear Mr White.

Thank you for your email dated 27 November.

I note that you ignored my question about what, in Shell’s view, constitutes a “reasonable interval” between SAR applications from the same applicant. A response on that matter will be made after I receive the delivery of the promised information on or before 1st December i.e. by next Wednesday.

I note that you have added another Shell lawyer – Maria Bowden – to the circulation list. Logic suggests she must have some relevant expertise, perhaps Shell buried secrets (nuclear or otherwise), defamation law, the Data Protection Act, or something connected with the company endorsed intimidatory conduct of Shell security guards at Shell Centre.

Best Regards

John Donovan


From: [email protected]
Date: 27 November 2009 10:41:27 GMT
To: [email protected]
Cc: michiel.brand[email protected], [email protected], [email protected]
Subject: RE: Data Protection Act 1998 – SAR

Dear Mr Donovan,

We have received your email dated 19 November, which makes reference to your previous request dated 10 November.

Although we appreciate your flexibility with regard to the period within which Shell has to comply with your subject access request (SAR) submitted on 4 September 2009, we believe it is not in either party’s ability to extend the prescribed period for responding to a SAR, nor to alter the statutory rules governing its submission and the subsequent response to it.

Accordingly, we confirm that as per our letter dated 16 November  we will respond to your SAR not later than 1 December 2009, in accordance with sections 7(8) and 7(10) of the Data Protection Act 1998 (Act). Our response will include the information constituting your personal data as held by Shell at the time when we received your SAR , pursuant to section 8(6) of the Act , but not any information produced or received by Shell after that time, such as the information requested in your email dated 10 November.

With regard to the documentation referred to in your email dated 15 November, to the extent that such documentation exists and constitutes personal data relating to you, then it will be disclosed to you as part of our response to your SAR dated 4 September 2009, in accordance with the Act and subject to any applicable statutory exemption.

Yours faithfully

Gavin White SI-LC-SFL
Company Secretarial Adviser
Corporate Secretariat, London
Phone: + 44 (0) 20 7934 3342
Fax: + 44 (0) 20 7934 5153
Email: [email protected]
Postal address: 8th Floor, Shell Centre, London SE1 7NA, United Kingdom

Shell International Limited is a company registered in England and
Wales. Its registered office address is Shell Centre, London, England,
SE1 7NA, United Kingdom. (Company number 3075807)

—–Original Message—–
From: John Donovan [mailto:[email protected]]
Sent: 19 November 2009 21:16
To: White, Gavin SI-LC-SFL
Cc: Brandjes, Michiel CM RDS-LC; Wiseman, Richard RM SI-RDS-CCO
Subject: Data Protection Act 1998 – SAR

Dear Mr White

Thank you for your letter dated 16 November 2009.

My email dated 10 November requested any relevant documents/notes/ instructions relating to:

1. Alleged intimidation by Shell security guards at Shell Centre  carried out with the endorsement and encouragement of Richard Wiseman,  the Chief Ethics Officer of Royal Dutch Shell Plc.

2. Shell statements about me issued recently to the Guardian newspaper  and the BBC.

You claim that seeking this information would involve significant disruption which could hamper efforts to meet the SAR deadline. This  conjures up an image of a team beavering away day and night gathering  the necessary information. I somehow doubt this is the case. Since  there has been no request for extra time to deal with what would amount to nothing more taxing than a few minutes work to avoid a  further SAR application, with all that apparently entails, it leaves a suspicion that Shell has something to hide and is trying to delay  disclosure. This impression is reinforced by the threat that you will  not respond to a further SAR application from me until an undefined “reasonable interval”. Is this months or years?

My email of 15 November relates solely to any relevant Shell correspondence concerning the supposedly decontaminated land at Earley  that Shell sold to a property developer for a housing estate. Any such correspondence took place before my SAR application. Consequently there is no possible excuse for it not being supplied. I know that it  exists.

You say that you won’t supply any addional documents and information produced after 22 October (whatever that means) but include with your letter two such items, thus acting in apparent breach of the rule you have just quoted.

I would like to make a constructive suggestion which would avoid the need for any further SAR application to Shell by me in the foreseeable future. The last gap was nearly three years and dependent on your response, I have no plans to shorten that interval. I am quite relaxed about waiting until say, 15 December for Shell to supply all of the requested information.

The ball is in your court.

Best Regards

John Donovan and its sister non-profit websites,,,,,, and are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia feature.

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