Access to Personal Data and the Right to Good Governance during Asylum Procedures after the cjeu’s YS. and M. and S. judgment (C-141/12 and C-372/12)

in European Journal of Migration and Law
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In the YS. and M. and S. judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on three procedures in which Dutch judges asked for clarification on the right of asylum seekers to have access to the documents regarding the decision on asylum applications. The judgment is relevant for interpreting the concept of personal data and the scope of the right of access under the Data Protection Directive, and the right to good administration in the eu Charter of Fundamental Rights. At first glance, the judgment seems disappointing from the viewpoint of individual rights. Nevertheless, in our view the judgment provides sufficient grounds for effective access rights to the minutes in future asylum cases.




See, for instance, G.J. Zwenne (2013), De verwaterde privacywet [Diluted Privacy Law], Inaugural lecture of Prof. Dr. G. J. Zwenne to the office of Professor of Law and the Information Society at the University of Leiden on Friday, 12 April 2013, Leiden: Universiteit Leiden; F.J. Zuiderveen Borgesius (2014), Improving Privacy Protection in the area of Behavioural Targeting, PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam, chapter 5.


See, amongst others: E. Brouwer (2008), Digital Borders and Real Rights: Effective Remedies for Third-Country Nationals in the Schengen Information System, diss. Nijmegen 2007, Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff, p. 200. See also A.F. Westin (1967), Privacy and Freedom, New York, ny: Atheneum, p. 158; P. de Hert and S. Gutwirth (2006), ‘Privacy, data protection and law enforcement. Opacity of the individual and transparency of power’, in: E. Claes, A. Duff and S. Gutwirth (eds), Privacy and the criminal law, Antwerp: Intersentia, pp. 61–104.


See S. Gutwirth and Y. Poullet (2008), ‘The contribution of the Article 29 Working Party to the construction of a harmonised European data protection system: an illustration of “reflexive governance”?’, in: V.P. Asinari and P. Palazzi (eds), Défis du Droit à la Protection de la Vie Privée. Challenges of Privacy and Data Protection Law, Brussels: Bruylant, pp. 569–609.


See also Jansen, supra note 27; D. Korff, ‘The proposed General Data Protection Regulation: suggested amendments to the definition of personal data’, eu Law Analysis (15 October 2014), available online at


See F.J. Zuiderveen Borgesius (2015), Improving Privacy Protection in the area of Behavioural Targeting, PhD thesis, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, 2014, Deventer: Kluwer 2015.


Dutch Supreme Court, 29 June 2006, ecli:nl:hr:2007:az4663 (Dexia), para. 34.


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