The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled on 9 March 2017 that natural persons participating in trade must accept the disclosure of a limited amount of their personal data (relating to their identity and functions within the company) in a register of companies even upon dissolution of the company. The CJEU explained that the reasons for this ruling were rooted in the need to protect the interests of third parties and to ensure legal certainty. Only in exceptional instances, on the basis of a case-by-case assessment, could there be legitimate reasons for member states to restrict access to such personal data after the expiry of a sufficiently long period after the dissolution of the company.

The background to the ruling was a preliminary reference by the Italian Corte Suprema di Cassazione, which wanted to know whether the EU Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) and Directive 68/151/EEC prohibited timely, unlimited access of natural persons to personal data in a register of companies.