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The European Charter of Fundamental Rights and Data Protection in the European legal framework

This course will provide an overview of one of the crucial areas of law, namely the right to the protection of personal data and the right to privacy, provided by Articles 8 and 7 of the EU Charter. It will guide you through the different facets of data protection demonstrating the basics of data protection law in the light of primary and secondary EU law. This will not be only a theoretical exercise, as the content of this course is based on the experience gathered through exchanges with legal practitioners at the European and national level. They were asked to share the most insightful cases they dealt with in their practice and their most interesting decisions they encountered or handed down. These became some of the examples that you will find in this course.

The course will consider the protection of personal data provided by the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights as a bridge for the judicial dialogue. It will be complemented by presentation of the variety of cases sourcing from pan European and national courts inviting the learners to put on judge’s hats and ruling on the legal problems emerging from the presented case studies.

The course will address in detail the interplay between data protection and cross-border digital technologies, paying particular attention to the territorial scope and cross-border data transfers as well as to the potential conflicts with other fundamental rights and interests, such as law enforcement, scientific research and property rights.

This is the fourth of five e-learning courses offered within the ambit of the e-NACT project, lead by the European University Institute based Centre for Judicial Cooperation with the participation of European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratization and the variety of national institutions offering trainings to judges in the national contexts.


Learning objectives

The learners will have obtained the knowledge of the general architecture of data protection law as a European fundamental right as protected by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights.
In concrete terms, they will:

  • explore the foundations of EU data protection law in the context of the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights;
  • learn the most relevant novelties of General Data Protection Regulation.
    • In particular, they will be equipped with the basics of EU data protection law as regards, data subjects’ rights as well as controllers and processors’ obligations. They will acquire a basic knowledge of the legal remedies available under GDPR before national supervisory authorities and courts and in the light of judicial dialogue.
  • analyse in a close-up cases of conflict between data protection and other fundamental rights and interests, such as law enforcement, property rights and scientific research.

Course Outline

Week 1:
Week 1 is devoted to the basics. The courses focuses on the difference between data protection and privacy and their recognition as “fundamental rights” in Europe. Here, we will address the main secondary law instruments in the field, the old Directive 95/46/EC and the General Data Protection Regulation 679/2016, besides the protection provided by primary law tools, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the European Convention of Human Rights. Finally, we will look at the peculiarities of the protection of personal data offered by the EU legal culture.

Week 2:
Week 2 is dedicated to the basics of data protection law, providing some basic definitions and dedicating attention to the role of the consent in the personal data processing. Here we will examine the position of relevant actors in personal data processing: on the one hand, we will analyse the data subjects’ rights such as the right of information, the right of access, the right to rectification, the right to erasure, the right to data portability and the right to object; on the other hand, we will pay attention to the general obligations of controllers and processors.

Week 3:
Week 3 is centred on legal remedies. In particular, we will examine the judicial remedies prompted by GDPR as well as the administrative remedies available before the national supervisory authorities and the opportunities provided by GDPR as regards trans-border data processing. Finally, we will discuss how data protection may be framed within the reflection on the judicial dialogue among European and national courts.

Week 4:
Week 4 is dedicated to the conflicts between data protection and other equally protected interests. Here, we will address two potential conflicts: the one between data protection and data retention and the other between data protection and freedom of scientific research. In the first case, we will address the conflict through the analysis of the recent case-law of CJEU. In the second case, we will focus on the specific provisions of the GDPR.

Week 5:
Finally, Week 5 is dedicated to the territorial scope of EU data protection law and to the requirements imposed for data transfers to third countries. In particular, we will look at the potential of extraterritorial application of fundamental rights and the global reach of the EU Charter and the ECHR.


The overall Project

This is the third of five e-learning courses offered within the ambit of the e-NACT project, led by the Centre for Judicial Cooperation, based at the European University Institute, with the participation of The Global Campus of Human Rights and a variety of national institutions offering trainings to judges in national contexts.

e-learning National Active Charter Training(e-NACT) Project is a DG Justice supported project providing for a training methodology and training activities that, coupled with the expertise of the trainers involved, foster the emergence and consolidation of a common culture of fundamental rights. By discussing with academics and with foreign colleagues their difficulties or good practices with respect to the application of the EU Charter, legal practitioners will deepen their understanding and equip themselves with new instruments and notions to use it effectively.For this purpose, e-NACT will offer systematic, interdisciplinary, interconnected and combined residential and e-learning training on five fundamental rights guaranteed in the EU Charter.

The following courses are offered within this project:

  1. Crash course on the application of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (1 week)
  2. Freedom of expression (5 weeks)
  3. Social rights (5 weeks)
  4. Children’s rights (5 weeks)
  5. Data protection (5 weeks)
  6. Protection of fundamental rights in the area of asylum and migration (5 weeks)

Lecturers and Experts

The e-NACT courses feature a group of academics, judges, and other practitioners passionate for fundamental rights and willing to spread the knowledge about them both within their professional networks and beyond. As the courses build on the trans-national trainings conducted within the e-NACT project, we invited also experts that delivered these residential training to enrichen the online courses with their perspectives and experience.



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