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Publication date:25 May 2018

Handbook on European data protection law - 2018 edition

The rapid development of information technology has exacerbated the need for robust personal data protection, the right to which is safeguarded by both European Union (EU) and Council of Europe (CoE) instruments. Safeguarding this important right entails new and significant challenges as technological advances expand the frontiers of areas such as surveillance, communication interception and data storage. This handbook is designed to familiarise legal practitioners not specialised in data protection with this emerging area of the law.


The Agency is updating its 2014 handbook on European data protection law, in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). It will present and explain European data protection law in a straightforward way for those working in this area. It will be of interest to non-specialised legal professionals, national judges and legal professionals, as well as national data protection authorities (DPAs).


In May 2016, the EU’s revised data protection rules entered into force, and will apply at the national level from May 2018. 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 with the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) and DPAs, the Agency will build on its earlier handbook, one of its most popular publications. Extracts from European and national data protection case law such as key judgments and decisions delivered by the ECtHR, CJEU, higher national courts and DPAs, will be selected. They will be compiled and explained simply in the handbook. The handbook will also explain key aspects of the European legal framework both at the Council of Europe and European Union level and should be available in various EU languages.

The handbook should be available in May 2018.