Rb. Rotterdam - ROT 19/1393

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Rb. Rotterdam - ROT 19/1393
CourtsNL.png
Court: Rb. Rotterdam (Netherlands)
Jurisdiction: Netherlands
Relevant Law: Article 17(1) GDPR
Decided: 18. 3. 2020
Published: 25. 3. 2020
Parties: Anonymous vs. The board of the legal aid council
National Case Number: ROT 19/1393
European Case Law Identifier: ECLI:NL:RBROT:2020:2256
Appeal from: n/a
Language: Dutch
Original Source: De Rechtspraak (in NL)

The Rotterdam Court of First Instance ruled that a legal aid council will have to delete information relating to the state of mind of the plaintiff according to Article 17(1) GDPR. The legal aid council processed the personal data for the purposes of assessing applications.

English Summary[edit | edit source]

Facts[edit | edit source]

The legal aid council rejected a request from the plaintiff for erasure of personal data. For the purposes of assessing applications, the legal aid provider must provide the necessary information on behalf of the applicant, so that the application can be assessed against the legal criteria.

The plaintiff has argued that her lawyer has included privacy-sensitive information about her health on an application form in connection with a civil appeal procedure (to be conducted) without the permission from the plaintiff. According to the plaintiff, this information is not necessary to be retained by the defendant any longer.

Dispute[edit | edit source]

Τhe Court had to assess whether the legal aid council was required to delete the information about the mental health status of the plaintiff according to Article 17(1) GDPR.

Holding[edit | edit source]

The Court decided that the respondent will have to remove the word relating to the state of mind of the plaintiff from the application form and from its systems according to Article 17 (1) GDPR. In view of the fact that the relevant addition file has already been closed, there is no good reason to reject the claim by the plaintiff.

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English Machine Translation of the Decision[edit | edit source]

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

ECLI: NL: RBROT: 2020: 2256 
Authority 
Rotterdam District Court 
Date of judgment 
03/18/2020 
Date of publication 
25-03-2020 
Case number 
ROT 19/1393 
Jurisdictions 
Administrative law 
Special characteristics 
First instance - multiple 
Content indication 
Request for erasure of personal data pursuant to Article 17 (1) GDPR . Appeal founded. 
Locations 
Rechtspraak.nl 
Enriched statement 
Pronunciation 
Rotterdam District Court 
Administrative law 
case number: ROT 19/1393 
Multi - Chamber ruling of 18 March 2020 in the case between 
[claimant], at [domicile claimant], claimant, 
and 
the board of the legal aid council, defendant, 
authorized representative: mr. C. Wijnstra. 
Process flow 
By decision of 31 October 2018 (the primary decision), the respondent rejected a request from the claimant for erasure of personal data. 
By decision of 5 February 2019 (the contested decision), the respondent declared the claimant's objection unfounded. 
The claimant brought an appeal against the contested decision. 
The defendant has lodged a statement of defense. 
The parties have submitted further documents. 
The investigation at the hearing took place on January 9, 2020, simultaneously with the investigation in the case with the case number ROT 19/1395. Plaintiff has appeared. Defendant has been represented by his authorized representative. 
Considerations 
1.1. 
On March 6, 2018, mr. [Name of lawyer] ([name of lawyer]), lawyer, filed an application with the respondent on behalf of claimant for an addition in connection with a civil appeal procedure (to be conducted) against the municipality [name of municipality]. The application form states that the claimant has been [state of mind]. 
1.2. 
The defendant granted the addition by decision of 14 March 2018. 
1.3. 
On December 18, 2018, [name of lawyer] requested that the addition be withdrawn because another addition includes the legal interest for which the addition was issued. The respondent withdrew the addition by decision of 25 December 2018. 
1.4. 
In a letter dated 16 September 2018, claimant requested the defendant to delete the 'health damage' stated in the application form. 
2. The defendant based the contested decision on the following. The basis for the processing of the personal data included in the application form can be found in Article 6, first paragraph, preamble and under e, of the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ): the processing is necessary for the performance of a task of general interest or of a task within the framework of the exercise of official authority entrusted to the controller. For the purposes of assessing applications for addition, the legal aid provider must provide the necessary information on behalf of the applicant, so that the application can be assessed against the legal criteria. Pursuant to Article 24 (3) of the Legal Aid Act (Wrb), the applicant must provide a satisfactory description of the case. Pursuant to the Basic Selection Document under the Archives Act, a retention obligation of ten years applies. 
3. Plaintiff has argued that her lawyer has included privacy-sensitive information about her health on the application form without her permission. It is not necessary for this information to be retained by the defendant any longer. 
4. Pursuant to Article 17 (1) of the GDPR , a data subject has the right to obtain erasure of personal data from the controller without unreasonable delay and the controller is obliged to erase personal data without unreasonable delay if one of the data listed in cases applies. 
5.1. 
Plaintiff confirmed at the hearing, if requested, that it concerns the word '[state of mind]' in the application form. If that word was erased from the application form, the problem would be solved, according to Plaintiff. 
5.2. 
The defendant changed its position at the hearing. According to the respondent, in view of the fact that, partly in view of the fact that the relevant addition file has already been closed, there is no good reason to reject the claim by the claimant. 
5.3. 
It follows from the foregoing that the appeal is well founded and that the contested decision must be set aside. It also follows from the above that the claimant's request will still have to be granted. The court cannot settle the dispute definitively by providing for the case itself. After all, the respondent will have to remove the word '[state of mind]' from the application form and from his systems. The court therefore suffices with an order to the defendant to take a new decision on an objection within two weeks. In doing so, the respondent will have to observe the considerations in this ruling. 
6. Because the court declares the appeal to be well-founded, the court will determine that the defendant reimburses the plaintiff the court fee paid by the plaintiff. 
7. There is no reason for a court order against costs, since there are no costs that are eligible for reimbursement. 
Decision 
The court: 
- declared the appeal to be well founded; 
- annuls the contested decision; 
- instructs the respondent to take a new decision on an objection within two weeks of the dispatch of this ruling, taking into account what has been considered in this ruling; 
- provides that the defendant reimburses the plaintiff's paid court fee of € 174.00. 
This statement was made by Mr. S. Veling, chairman, and Mr. MGL de Vette and Mr. AS Flikweert, members, in the presence of Mr. CHI Zwaneveld-Butter, Registrar. The verdict was made publicly on March 18, 2020. 
the registrar is unable to chair this decision 
co-sign 
A copy of this ruling has been sent to parties on: 
Remedy 
An appeal may be lodged against this decision with the Administrative Jurisdiction Division of the Council of State within six weeks of the day it was sent.