You were unable to attend the seminar on 30 April? Read the summary of the afternoon.


EU context

In 2012, the European Commission proposed a major reform to the legal framework of personal data protection. This reform expands the reach of the EU’s 1995 Data Protection Directive and harmonises Member States’ inconsistent implementation of the regulation. Thus far, it has been the most heavily lobbied piece of legislation with 3999 amendments tabled by the Europan Parliament.

The main aim of the new law is to strengthen individual rights, address new challenges of globalisation and technological developments and decrease administrative burden of compliance. The new Directive will also alter the way non-EU companies and in particular US companies do business in Europe.


The current context in France

Further to the January terrorist attacks in Paris against Charlie Hebdo and a kosher grocery store, the government announced its plans to reform the legislative framework around surveillance in France, with a view to increase the ability of French intelligence services to prevent similar attacks in the future. A draft law entitled “loi sur le renseignement” (“law on intelligence”) was presented to the French National Assembly in April. The draft law has been heavily criticised by a number of stakeholders, political figures from both sides of the spectrum, a number of civil society organisations, and by representatives of digital and internet industries. 

The new law was adopted on 5 May. 

The UK’s views on the new EU Directive

The UK is one of the Member States that heavily criticised the new Directive. The government in its official response to the proposal argued that the new laws ’will lead to a division of the UK law causing confusion, both for data subjects, and for organisations within the criminal justice system.’ The government expressed its concerns regarding inconsistencies in application, both due to differing provisions in the instruments and over time, due to court decisions under each instrument.

The agenda of the session

The seminar was chaired by Peter Wright, solicitor and managing director at Digital UK, Chair of the Law Society of England and Wales Technology and Law Reference Group.

Christiane Féral-Schuhl, Immediate Past President of the Paris Bar (January 2012 January 2014) opened the session. The Past President talked about the importance of personal data protection;  a new dimension of possessing information and how the development of the internet and IT have led to recent security breaches for instance in the ’Snowden case’ or raised the questions around mass surveillance. Mrs Féral-Schuhl emphasised the need for protecting privacy and individual liberties. You can read the full speech attached to this article.

Dr. Nathalie Moreno, partner at Charles Russell Speechlys, gave a presentation on ’Data Protection Law: A comparative approach in France and in the United Kingdom’. Nathalie summarised the legal framework at EU level; compared the key themes such as notifications, international transfers, Whistleblowing Hotlines, breaches and offences and penalties, and shared the latest on the proposed reform of the EU data protection framework.

Anne-Claire Dubois, in-house Legal Counsel & Privacy Officer Time Out Group, talked about ‘Data Protection Law: A comparative approach of the Data Protection Officer role in France and in the United Kingdom’. Anne-Claire shared her experience as a Certified Data Protection Officer and compared the approaches on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data in France, the UK and summarised the impacts of the EU legal framework.

Both sessions were followed by an interactive Q&A. If you are interested in the presentations please send us an e—mail

The seminar was followed by a cheese and wine reception where the President of the Law Society was also present.