European Data Protection Law

Course content

The technological developments make it possible to process data in ever increasing complex and efficient ways. Technological phenomena and services like the internet, social media, big data etc. mean that personal data is becoming a vauable asset (personal data has been categorized as the "oil of the 21st century"). The Snowden relevations demonstrated that intelligence services and other governmental authorities to a much larger extent than expected by the public proces personal data about the citizens. All this has caused an increased focus on legal protection of personal data, with the EU regulation on data protection as the preliminary culmination. Today a basic understanding of data protection law is a requirement for many lawyers. The course teaches the students of the basic concepts of data protection law and the main rules and principles of the current data protection directive and the forthcoming data protection regulation.


The course consists of four parts.

The first part of the course introduces the basic principles and instruments of data protection law both at a European and international level and includes the historical background and development of data protection law and privacy law.

The second part of the course deals with data protection as a human right with a focus on the historical roots of data protection, international human rights instruments, The EU Charter for Human Rights and case law illustrating the relationship between human rights and data protection regulation.

The third part of the course focuses on the EU directive and regulation on data protection and the main rules and mechanisms of these legal instruments, including the central terms, scope of regulation, applicable law, data protection principles, legal basis for processing, rights of the data subject, transfer to third countries, sanctions and control mechanisms.

The fourth part of the course presents two selected topics that the students will work with in more details based on current research articles.

The course has relations to the BA courses “Individets grundlæggende rettigheder”, “EU-ret”, “Ret, privatliv og teknologi” and some extent to the introduction to data protection law given to the students in "Forvaltningsret".


The course does not require that other MA courses are completed.

Learning outcome

The course will provide the students with knowledge of the basic concepts and legal instruments of data protection law, the interplay between data protection and human rights and central rules and mechanisms of the EU legislation.


The course will provide the students with the skills of identifying relevant data protection issues when such issues occur in a given situation and identifying the relevant legal sources for the legal analysis. This includes the ability to identify missing facts that is needed to carry out the full legal analysis. The course will provide the students with the competences to analyse complex data protection law issues, to argue for different possible solutions to the legal issues and make a reasoned balancing of the relevant legal arguments.


The course will furthermore provide the students with the competences to articulate and communicate their knowledge in the field in a structures and coherent way.

The course in particular includes the following learning activities:
A traditional presentation of selected topics of the curriculum based on dialog with the students.
Short discussions between students in pairs during class.
Case-based learning as described above.
Use of an online poll system.

Handbook on European Data Protection Law, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and Council of Europe

Christopher Kuner: European Data Protection Law: Corporate Compliance and Regulation (selections)

Various Article 29 Working Party papers

Various international conventions and standards (Council of Europe Convention 108, OECD Privacy Guidelines etc)

Various legal articles

Various materials from practice

Required readings cover app. 600 pages


A more detailed list of required readings will be publish in Absalon. All materials will either be available in Absalon or available from the university library.

Related subjects (any related courses or related subject areas):
The course is related to Persondataret and to some extent to It-ret

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Oral exam with preparation, 20 minutes
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • English
  • 412,5