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The Right to Explanation under the Right of Access to Personal Data:

Legal Foundations in and Beyond the GDPR

Diana Dimitrova


Keywords: Right to Explanation, Right of Access, GDPR, Data Protection

The present article sets out to contribute to the discussion on the right to explanation of (automated) decisions and profiles by examining it in light of the right to access to one’s personal data. To that end it explores the right of access and explanation obligations beyond the GDPR by focusing also on Directive 2016/680, the CJEU case law, CoE Convention 108+ and ECtHR case law. The paper argues that whereas the right to know the reasoning and criteria underlying a decision could be derived from the right of access, this is less explicit in the case-law of the CJEU as compared to the ECtHR and Convention 108+. The discussion also points to the necessity of clarifying the relationship between and boundaries of data protection rights and other areas of law, eg the right to effective remedy and the obligation to state reasons for decisions.
Keywords: right to explanation, right of access, GDPR, data rotection

Diana Dimitrova is a researcher at FIZ Karlsruhe ─ Leibniz Institute for Information Infrastructures and a PhD student at LSTS/VUB. The author wishes to thank Prof Dr Paul De Hert, Dr Dara Hallinan, Prof Dr Franziska Boehm and the anonymous reviewers for their invaluable comments to earlier versions of the present article. For correspondence: <>.


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