Complaint against the EU US Privacy Shield failed: Digital Rights Ireland loses in front of the European General Court

Breather for data transfers to companies in the US. Digital Rights Ireland, an Irish company concerned with the promotion and protection of civil and human rights, particularly in the world of modern communication technologies, which has brought an action for annulment (Article 263 TFEU) before the Court of Justice of the European Union (here the General Court) in the case T-670/16 against the decision of the EU Commission for the EU US Privacy Shield, lost the battle, before it even really started.

The Court rules (Order) that the applicant does not have an interest in bringing proceedings. The annulment of the contested decision is not capable of having, in itself, legal consequences for the applicant or of procuring for it an advantage in regard to personal data.

Furthermore, according to the Court, the contested decision by the EU Commission has the effect of entitling the applicant as a controller of personal data to carry out transfers under certain conditions. It does not restrict its rights or impose obligations on it.

Additionally, the Court clarifies that it follows from the existence of specific conditions governing the admissibility of actions for annulment brought by individuals, provided for in Article 263 TFEU, that EU law does not, in principle, allow for the possibility of an applicant to bring an actio popularis in the public interest.

The action is therefore inadmissible.

The decision of the Court is not completely surprising, since the Article 263 TFEU and also the case law of the court stipulate quite high demands for the admissibility of an action for annulment. It should be noted that a similar claim is pending in case T-738/16. Also there complaining associations are not individuals. Therefore, the issue of inadmissibility might probably also arise there.

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