Why does the Data Protection Authority initiate a procedure?

The procedure at the GBA usually starts in response to a complaint from someone who believes that their personal data is being processed incorrectly (e.g., your customer, employee, or business partner).

The GBA can also initiate an investigation into the data processing within your organization on its own initiative, without a complaint.


What does the Inspection Service of the GBA do?

The investigation by the Inspection Service is the first phase of the procedure.

During this phase, the Inspection Service of the GBA conducts an investigation based on the specific complaint or alleged infringement. After completing the investigation, the service submits a report to the Disputes Chamber.

In this report, the Inspection Service assesses whether there is, in their opinion, an actual infringement. If that is the case, the case is referred to the ‘Disputes Chamber,’ and the next phase begins: a ‘substantive procedure’ with possible sanctions.


How does the procedure before the Disputes Chamber unfold?

The procedure before the Disputes Chamber closely resembles a judicial procedure.

  • Both parties present their arguments. Therefore, you will need to defend yourself against the complaint(s) and the findings of the Inspection Service of the GBA.
  • Then, if requested, a hearing follows.
  • Subsequently, the Disputes Chamber thoroughly analyzes the dossier and makes a decision.

What are the consequences of a procedure before the Disputes Chamber?

A decision by the Disputes Chamber may involve sanctions, prohibitions, and/or orders.

The fines can be substantial. For businesses, the legal maximum fine is 20 million euros or 4% of the worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher.

However, it does not always have to go this far: (partial) dismissal and discontinuation of prosecution are also possibilities!


Get assistance from privacy experts

The Disputes Chamber attaches great importance to good cooperation. Privacy regulations are highly technical and complex. Moreover, the Inspection Service of the GBA applies them extremely strictly.

Therefore, we strongly recommend seeking our assistance to minimize your chances of (severe) sanctions.

Even in the phase where the Inspection Service is conducting an investigation, it’s advisable to seek our advice. The GBA places great importance on cooperation even during the inspection phase. A smooth collaboration from the start can have a significant impact on the further course of the procedure.


How do we help you specifically?

Our privacy experts have extensive experience in providing assistance during procedures before the GBA. We are familiar with the procedure, pitfalls, possible alternative solutions, and factors that can make a difference.

We assist you during the procedure before the Disputes Chamber and also in the preceding phase. For example, we may attempt mediation with the complainant.

Our assistance includes:

  • Responding and defending against the GBA,
  • Advice on the processing under discussion,
  • Support to prevent and avoid such problems in the future.


Clear advice and expertise

Do not let a procedure before the GBA drag on. Seek the advice of our Privacy lawyers; they assist you effectively with clear advice, expertise, and concrete solutions.

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Contact our Privacy department

Have you received a letter from the Inspection Service or are you already involved in a procedure with the GBA? Seek the advice of our lawyers as soon as possible. Contact us, and we will get started with you right away.

Contact team Privacy & IT