On 27 September 2017, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down its preliminary ruling to the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (“Supreme Court”) regarding the interpretation of “a task carried out in the public interest” as a legitimate basis for processing personal data under Article 7(e) of the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) (“Directive”) (Puskar v Finance Directorate of the Slovak Republic, Case C-73/16, 27 September 2017).

The ECJ ruling also considered: (i) an individual’s right to an effective remedy before a court, and (ii) the admissibility of evidence obtained unlawfully, under Article 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. In this blog, however, we will look at the ECJ’s interpretation of Article 7(e) of the Directive.


The request for a preliminary ruling of the ECJ was made by the Supreme Court following a dispute between Mr. Puškár and the Slovakian tax authorities.

Mr. Puškár sought a decision to prevent the tax authorities from including his personal information in a confidential list of so-called ‘front-men,’ prepared by the tax authorities for the purpose of collecting taxes and combatting fraud (“Contested List”), and to delete any reference to him in such lists. ‘Front-men’ are individuals who purport to act as ‘fronts’ in company director roles. Mr. Puškár argued that the Contested List was drawn up without a legal basis and that his personal data was processed without his consent.

The Supreme Court referred several questions to the ECJ, including whether the provisions of Article 7(e) of the Directive permits a Member State to process personal data (i.e. creating the Contested List) for the purpose of collecting tax and combatting tax fraud without the consent of the individuals concerned.
Continue Reading European Court of Justice provides guidance on “tasks carried out in the public interest.”