Judging the Charter

The Charter in judicial practise with a special focus on the case of protection of refugees and asylum seekers

Declaration of Property Status – Personal Data

Case Number: Supreme Administrative Court Greece - StE2649/2017

Relevance of Decision

This has been a prominent case regarding the obligation of members of the judiciary to declare their property status, including income or valuables kept in safe deposit boxes. The matter was considered, among others, as an issue pertaining to the protection of the Judges’ personal data, as enshrined in article 8 CFREU. The case received great publicity and was associated with broader issues of transparency and equality before the law.

Facts of the case

The case concerns the annulment of ministerial decree 1846/2016, introducing an obligation for Judges to declare their property status, including income or valuables kept in safe deposit boxes.

Legal Questions

  1. Is information regarding the property status of individuals, including income or valuables not kept in bank accounts, personal data?
  2. Were the rules for processing personal data upheld in this case?

Court Findings

The Court found that for Judges to be able to fulfil their legal obligation of submitting declarations of Property Status, they would need to consent to the processing of their personal data relating to theirproperty. The process of doing so must, thus, comply to the rules governing the processing of personal data.

A number of violations of the relevant legislation, including the Charter, were found in that regard. These included the fact that there were no time-restrictions to the duration of the processing, no mechanism to ensure that the accuracy of the data would beguaranteed at the time of the declaration, and no legitimate purpose for the collection and processing of the data.The aim of the processing, namely, thestrengthening of the credibility of the Justice systemthrough the fostering of a climate of trust and accountability, as well as the protection of Judges from unfounded accusations would be better served by other means, such as monitoring the Judges’ tax declarations, or instituting criminal proceedings against them if they behave criminally according to national law.