Rb. Midden-Nederland - UTR 20/268

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Rb. Midden-Nederland - UTR 20/268
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Court: Rb. Midden-Nederland (Netherlands)
Jurisdiction: Netherlands
Relevant Law:
Article 12 General Administrative Law Act (AVG)
Article 15 General Administrative Law Act (AVG)
Article 4 General Administrative Law Act (AVG)
Decided: 12.01.2021
Published: 22.10.2021
National Case Number/Name: UTR 20/268
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2021:39
Appeal from:
Appeal to: Unknown
Original Language(s): Dutch
Original Source: Rechtspraak.nl (in Dutch)
Initial Contributor: Anike Malherbe

The court held that an alias is included in the definition of “personal data” as referred to in Article 15 of the AVG (read with Article 4 of the AVG), however, “internal correspondence” is not.

English Summary


This matter concerns the Claimant’s request for accesses to his “personal data” held and processed by the defendant which was partially provided. The claimant objected to the Respondent’s decision to exclude further documents but this objection was dismissed. The Claimant argued that his request included information linked to his name, his alias and correspondence between the defendant and its organisational unit (TOEFL) relating to the processing of his asylum application. The Claimant relied on Articles 12 and 15(1) of the General Administrative Law Act (AWG) and referred to a judgment of the Court of Appeal in The Hague (17 September 2019) and the Nowak judgment by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (20 December 2017) in support of his interpretation of “personal data”. The Defendant maintains that “personal data” does not include their internal correspondence (as it does not fall within the formal definition), nor does it include the Claimant’s alias (the judgment does not elaborate on the Respondent’s reasoning for the latter stance). The Defendant referred to a 17 July 2014 decision by the CJEU in support of its argument on the access to correspondence.


In determining whether an alias forms part of one’s “personal data” in terms of Article 15(1) AVG the court turned to the definition contained in Article 4 of the AVG and subsequently declares the Defendant’s understanding as incorrect. The court holds that “[t]his alias was used by the claimant... and can therefore be directly linked to the claimant himself.” In its assessment of whether the correspondence between the Defendant and TOELT should be included under the above-mentioned definition, the court distinguishes the present matter from the case law referred to by the Claimant. It further notes that the 17 July 2014 judgment by the CJEU relied on by the Defendant predates the AVG but maintains its relevance to the interpretation of the right of access and correction provided for in the AVG. The court considered the CJEU’s reasoning that if the applicant’s right of inspection were to be extended to the legal analysis of the residence permit process it will no longer serve the purpose of the Data Protection Directive (and the AVG) and would ensure the applicant access to administrative documents, which the Data Protection Directive (and the AVG) does not provide for. Thus, the correspondence between the Respondent and TOELT was excluded from the scope of the definition as “[i]t is internal correspondence, which, like a legal analysis, should not be checked for accuracy by the Claimant...”


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English Machine Translation of the Decision

The decision below is a machine translation of the Dutch original. Please refer to the Dutch original for more details.