EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)


We are in the midst of the most significant reform of data protection laws in over 15 years. Our social, retail and business habits have created a world in which data is key to business activity and the law is now racing to keep up.

Four years after the overhaul of European data protection laws began, the final text of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was approved in Spring 2016 and the new rules will come into effect on 25 May 2018.

Key changes under the GDPR will affect almost all businesses. The rights of EU citizens to control their personal details will be enhanced and new unified obligations will be placed on those dealing with personal data. During the transition, all businesses need to assess what they need to do to comply with the new rules.

Current data protection legislation (the Data Protection Act 1998 in the UK) is based on the Data Protection Directive of 1995 (the 1995 Directive) which sets out key legal principles for dealing with personal data. For the past 15 to 20 years these principles have been adopted in national legislation throughout the EU Member States in different ways resulting in a disjointed approach to data protection in Europe. The GDPR will replace the 1995 Directive and will be directly applicable in every EU Member State. This will provide a single set of rules and avoid contradictory approaches across the EU.


25 January 2012

European Commission publish proposals to reform European data protection rules.

May 2012

European Parliament committee talks begin on the draft Regulation.

October – November 2012

Inter-parliamentary hearing of the national parliaments.

January 2013

Draft report and mark-up of the Regulation released.

Autumn 2013

Negotiations take place between the Council of the EU and European Parliament.

12 March 2014

European Parliament adopts its own version of the Regulation after first reading.

15 June 2015

The Council of the European Union approve its version at first reading (general approach). The regulation is passed to the final stage of legislation – the Trilogue.

15 December 2015

The EU General Data Protection Regulation is agreed.

14 April 2016

The EU General Data Protection Regulation is approved by the European Parliament.

4 May 2016

The EU General Data Protection Regulation is published in the EU’s Official Journal.

25 May 2018

The EU General Data Protection regulation to come into force.

Contact our Specialist Compliance and Regulatory Lawyers

Here at MacRoberts, we have extensive knowledge and experience in dealing with compliance and regulatory matters. We can help you with the assistance you need to take proactive measures in ensuring compliance to stop you falling foul of any relevant laws and regulations.

Our Compliance and Regulatory team, headed by Partners David Flint, David Gourlay and Val Surgenor, has an impressive reputation in the legal and commercial markets and take the time to understand your business, your drivers and your risks, tailoring the advice we provide around you.

We pride ourselves on our diverse, resourceful and highly skilled team of compliance and regulatory solicitors, who have substantial commercial and legal experience, delivering a pragmatic and commercial approach to our clients and their businesses.

If you require advice, assistance or representation in relation to the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation obligations or any other compliance and regulatory matters, contact our team today for expert advice tailored to your needs.

Key Contact – Glasgow Key Contact – Edinburgh


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