info@winheller.com+49 (0)69 76 75 77 80Mon. - Fri. from 8am to 8pm, Sat. from 8am to 5pm

No materiality threshold for damages under the GDPR?

Mar 31, 21 • Privacy LawNo Comments

Damages as a sanction under the GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) empowers supervisory authorities to impose heavy fines. These fines can be much higher than before. This has been a concern for companies since the GDPR came into force. On the other hand, they paid less attention to another possible sanction stipulated in the GDPR for infringements: damages. Claims for damages citing GDPR violations can also be expensive for companies.

Conditions and scope of damages unclear

The GDPR stipulates that any person who has suffered material or non-material damage as a result of a breach of this Regulation is entitled to compensation. In this context, the assertion of non-material damages due to infringements of personal rights is particularly relevant. At present, however, neither the conditions nor the scope of such damages have been unequivocally clarified.

Materiality threshold of the courts

The majority of courts have moved towards requiring a serious violation of personal rights for the compensability of non-material damages. If the materiality threshold is not met, no damages will be awarded. However, this limitation is contrary to the considerations of the GDPR, according to which the affected individual should receive full and effective compensation for the damage suffered.

Materiality threshold could be removed

Whether the materiality threshold applied by the German courts is in line with European law is now for the European Court of Justice to decide. Against the background that the GDPR does not recognize such a limitation and advocates a broad concept of damage, the materiality threshold threatens to disappear in the future and thus to expand the liability for GDPR violations.

WINHELLER advises on GDPR violations in Germany

For a lawful handling of the GDPR and the avoidance of claims for damages, our experienced attorneys for data protection law are happy to assist you.

Continue Reading:
German Privacy Law
Companies May Issue Warnings of GDPR Violations in Germany

Patricia Jechel

Patricia Jechel

Attorney Patricia Jechel advises our medium-sized clients in Frankfurt/Main in the fields of intellectual property and data protection.

>> show profile

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

WINHELLER Blog via Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates on German business law by e-mail. (Mandatory fields are marked with *)

German Business Law News (4 times a year)
I would like to subscribe to the selected newsletter and for that purpose give my consent to WINHELLER to process my above mentioned data. I have read the "Information for Data Processing in the Newsletter Subscription". I understand that I can revoke my consent at any time with effect for the future by clicking the unsubscribe button within the newsletter. *