How will Brexit impact Data Protection and what should we be doing?

Last Updated 11:40am, 23 September 2021

The UK has left the EU, and has negotiated a Co-Operation Agreement with the EU to govern aspects of their future trading relationship (the “Brexit Deal”).The UK Government has expressed a commitment to retaining the high standards of EU data protection law. The UK therefore incorporated the GDPR into its own national legislation post-1 January 2020. However, since that date the UK is able to keep this legal framework under review. The UK Government announced a set of proposed measures and reforms in August and September 2021, which we discuss here. We have set out the following information to help your organisation decide what it needs to do, now that the Brexit transition period has ended and the Brexit Deal is in place.

If you are an organisation that...

receives personal data from the EU...

...the EU Commission has now adopted a data transfer adequacy decision in favour of the UK, allowing personal data to continue to flow freely between the EU and the UK.  For further details see EU Commission grants UK data “adequate” status

has an office, branch or other “establishment” in the EU... will need to operate under both the UK and EU data protection laws following the transition period.

offers goods and services into the EU, but are not “established” in the EU... may need to select and appoint someone to represent you in the EU from 1 January 2020. Please see our EU Representatives article to find out more, including how Freeths can help.

will continue to carry out cross-border processing in the EU, and your current lead authority is the UK's data protection authority (the “ICO”)... may need to select a supervisory authority to be your lead data protection authority in the EU at the end of the Brexit transition period. Please see our EU Data Protection Authority article to find out more, including how Freeths can help.

already complies with the GDPR and has no contacts or customers in the EU...

...then all this is unlikely to affect you, and you can continue as you are.

And finally...

...the position is an evolving one. Organisations should monitor the situation for updates, including from the UK ICO.

Head to our Brexit Exchange where you will find all the latest updates and developments from our experts, regarding Brexit and how that affects businesses and individuals in a range of areas.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.