Belgian Market Court makes decision regarding TCF/APD case

Posted on Thursday 07 September 2023 | IAB UK

Read the latest development regarding IAB Europe’s Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) and the Belgian Data Protection Authority (APD)


The Belgian Market Court has agreed that a ruling is needed from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) before there is further assessment of the Action Plan IAB Europe was required to submit to the Belgian Data Protection Authority (APD) as part of its enforcement of its original decision against IAB Europe. 

This is following an appeal by IAB Europe against the APD’s decision to validate the plan in January 2023, despite the Market Court’s interim judgement (made in September 2022) that referred questions to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling and held that the APD was in breach of its duty of care.

Today’s decision shows that the APD acted to validate the action plan too soon, as the Market Court has indicated that the outcome of the CJEU’s assessment will have a bearing on the legality of the APD’s original decision and therefore on the subsequent enforcement, and validation of the plan. 

This development is good news for IAB Europe and TCF participants as it removes the risk of introducing changes to the TCF that may ultimately be found inappropriate by the CJEU and rolled back.

As Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe, explains: “This decision is a reassuring confirmation that while TCF evolutions can go ahead, like the recent TCF v2.2 changes, now is not the time to force any modifications that might be significantly affected by the Court of Justice proceedings”.

In particular, measures in the action plan that directly stemmed from the APD’s finding that the TC String constitutes personal data and that IAB Europe should be viewed as a (joint) controller from a data protection perspective are therefore set aside for now. 

“Ultimately, it is up to the Court of Justice to provide guidance on these issues, and the Market Court decision serves as a reminder of this point”, added Feehan.

For more detail, you can find IAB Europe’s FAQs here

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