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Handbook on European data protection law - 2014 edition

This handbook is designed to familiarise legal practitioners who are not specialised in the field of data protection with this area of law. It provides an overview of the EU’s and the CoE’s applicable legal frameworks.


FRA has produced a handbook, in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which presents and explains European data protection law in a straightforward way for those working in this area. It aims at non-specialised legal professionals, national judges and legal professionals, as well as national data protection authorities (DPAs).


Data protection is a fast-moving area. For example, in 2012 the European Commission presented its reform of current EU data protection rules. Therefore, this handbook seeks to raise awareness and knowledge of data protection rules in the EU and Council of Europe Member States, by becoming the main point of reference on European data protection law and how such law is being applied in practice.

Data protection is applied in Member States by national courts and DPAs. At the same time, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the ECtHR have built up extensive data protection case law derived from the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) respectively.


Together with the Council of Europe/ECtHR and the European Commission, and in consultation with the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and DPAs, FRA has prepared a handbook synthesising European and national data protection case law. The project selected extracts from key judgments and decisions delivered by the ECtHR, CJEU, higher national courts and DPAs. They were then compiled and explained simply in the handbook. The handbook also presents key aspects of the European legal framework both at Council of Europe and European Union level.

This project page was last updated on 02.03.2015.