The Advocate General (AG) of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) recently delivered its opinion concerning the conditions regarding fines under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Case relates to Berlin Supervisory Authority’s fine on Deutsche Wohnen SE €14.5 million for violating the GDPR’s data retention obligations. A fine which was subsequently overturned by the District Court of Berlin based on certain rules within the German Act on Regulatory Offences. This decision was appealed by Berlin Public Prosecutor’s Office. In response, the Higher Regional Court referred the case to the CJEU.
The Advocate General has expressed the opinion that the GDPR should not be interpreted so as to necessitate a prior finding of infringement by associated natural persons in order for an administrative fine to be imposed upon a company. Accordingly, Member State laws must not impose such a requirement as a pre-condition.
Next, the Advocate General has concluded that GDPR fines necessitate an intentional or negligent form of conduct. Consequently, a strict liability regime is not applicable.