In the national referendum on 24 June 2016, the UK decided to leave the EU. Once the government notifies the European Council that the UK has decided to leave the EU, the two-year period for the negotiation for exit under Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union will start. The legal implications of the UK leaving the EU in areas such as the resolution of cross-border disputes are as yet, unclear.
Although the current legal framework will not change until the exit negotiations between the UK and the EU are finalised, there is little doubt that the UK's exit will have an effect on the existing body of laws relating to jurisdiction, governing law, enforcement of EU judgments and service of English proceedings in the EU.
EU online dispute resolution platform
Consumers and traders are now able to use the European Commission’s new online dispute resolution (ODR) platform to refer contractual disputes arising from buying goods or services online to an agreed alternative dispute resolution entity. The ODR platform was established under the ODR Regulation (524/2013/EU) and since 15 February 2016, online retailers and online marketplace providers have had to include a link to the platform on their websites and in their terms and conditions. The regulation aims to encourage cross-border trade by enabling consumers to enforce their rights where the goods are damaged or do not conform to their description.
EU General Data Protection Regulation and Directive
The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission reached agreement on 15 December 2015 on new data protection rules, establishing a modern and harmonised data protection framework across the EU. The recitals to the Regulation specifically state that the new rules are to provide a "strong and more coherent data protection framework in the Union, backed by strong enforcement, given the importance of creating the trust that will allow the digital economy to develop across the internal market."
The Regulation is now in force and directly applicable in all member states but will only apply from 25 May 2018. The Directive also entered into force in May of this year and EU Member States have to transpose it into their national law by 6 May 2018. The "implementation phase" has now officially started, i.e. a period in which companies will have to ensure that their organisations comply with the new rules by the time they become applicable in May 2018.
Please click on the links below for the full text of the Regulation and Directive:
Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation)
Directive (EU) 2016/680 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data by competent authorities for the purposes of the prevention, investigation, detection or prosecution of criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties, and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Council Framework Decision 2008/977/JHA