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The Law Enforcement Directive:

Conceptual Challenges of EU Directive 2016/680


Mark Leiser, Bart Custers

The Law Enforcement Directive (EU Directive 2016/680) has been heralded for its role in building a high level of data protection in criminal law. Data processed for ‘law enforcement purposes’ by ‘competent authorities’ must comply with principles of necessity, proportionality and legality, while ensuring appropriate safeguards in place for data subjects. However, there is ambiguity as to how the LED should work in practice due to several conceptual issues that the LED raises. This paper discusses three conceptual issues: consent, the categorisation of witnesses, suspects and victims, and the categorisation of facts versus opinions.
Keywords: Law Enforcement Directive, Fundamental Rights, Consent, Law Enforcement Data, Directive 2016/680

Dr Mark Leiser FRSA, FHEA, Assistant Professor, Leiden University. For correspondence: <>. Bart Custers PhD MSc LLM is a full professor of Law and Data Science at eLaw, the Center for Law and Digital Technologies at Leiden University. For correspondence: <>. Part of this article is based on research performed in the EU project INFORM, on the introduction of the data protection reform to the judicial system, grant number 763866.


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