No-deal Brexit: New legal structures needed for data transfers across Border

Situation could lead to significant costs for companies and other bodies affected

Businesses and other organisations that move personal data between the Republic and the UK will have to put in place new legal structures to do so in the event of a no-deal Brexit, it has been announced.

The move could mean significant legal costs for those affected given the need to consult on and establish the requisite systems to be in compliance.

On Friday, the Data Protection Commission released a statement offering some clarity on what the impacts of a “hard” UK departure will be for businesses whose operations involve the transfer of personal information between the two jurisdictions.

Under EU data protection law, free movement of personal data is guaranteed between EU member states. However, without striking an exit agreement with the EU, the UK will become a “third country” meaning alternative arrangements will be necessary.


The movement of personal data to these third countries requires additional safeguards to be put in place in order to ensure the continued application of the EU’s data protection standards.

"This will have repercussions for all organisations and bodies trading with or doing any other kind of business or correspondence with entities in the UK, including Northern Ireland, " the commission said in a statement on Friday.

“This is because personal data transfers to the UK will require the implementation of legal safeguards by the Irish-based organisations and bodies that are transferring the personal data.”

Payroll outsourcing

It offered the example of an Irish company outsourcing its payroll to a UK company which will now require extra legal safeguards to be put in place.

Similarly, any State bodies using UK-based cloud services will also need to invest in new legal structures.

The same will apply to a sports organisation with an administrative office in the North that administers membership details for all members in the Republic and the North.

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard

Mark Hilliard is a reporter with The Irish Times