IECH 122
THE HIGH COURT
DUBLIN CIRCUIT COUNTY OF DUBLIN
DATA PROTECTION COMMISSIONER
GOOGLE IRELAND LIMITED
SECOND APPELLANT/NOTICE PARTY
JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice White delivered on 9th of February, 2018
1. This is an appeal on points of law only from an order of the Circuit Court of 25th Oc tober 2016, pursuant to t he Data Protec tion
Act s 1998 and 2003.
2. The Circuit Court allowed the appeal of Mark Savage (in this judgment t he Respondent) from a ruling of the Respondent the Data
Protect ion Commissioner of 26th Marc h, 2015 (in this judgment referred to a s the F irst Appellant). The Notic e Party Google Ireland Ltd
has also appealed. ( In t his judgment referred to as the Sec ond Appellant)
3. The F irst Appellant appealed by Notice of Appeal of 3rd November, 2016 on the following grounds,
(i) The Court erred in law in directing the Commissioner to issue an enforcement notice . The Circuit Court has no
jurisdiction on an appeal to direct that an enforcement notic e be issued by the Commissioner.
(ii) The Court erred in law in directing the Commissioner to issue an enforc ement notice t o a party that was not a party t o
the procee dings; namely Google Inc. The Circuit Court has no jurisdiction on an appeal to direct t hat an enforc ement
notice be issued by the Commissioner to a person who is not a party to t he Circuit Court Appeal, namely Google Inc.
(iii) The court erred in law in its applicat ion of the test outlined in Orange Communications Limited v. Director of
Telecom munications Regulations & Anor (No 2)  4 I.R. 159 to t he Commissioner’s decision.
(iv) The c ourt erred in law in its interpretation an applicat ion of the decision of t he Court of Just ice of the European Union
delivered on 13th May, 2014, in Google Spain v. AEPD & Mario Coste ja Gonzalez (Case C-131/12) (the Google Spain
(v) The court erred in law in holding that the Commissioner made a serous error in her application of the Google Spain
(vi) The c ourt erred in law in finding that the content of the URL title was fac tual in nature and not an expression of
(vii) The c ourt erred in law in holding that the c ontent of the URL is to be presumed to be a stat ement of fac t in the
absence of quotat ion marks or some other indication expressly identifying it as opinion.
(viii) The court e rred in law in evaluating whether the c ontent of the URL title wa s fac tual in nature or an expression of
opinion without having regard to the c ontents of the webpages t o which the URL directs internet users.
(ix) The court erred in law in circumstances where t here was no fa ctual basis f or a finding that t he cont ent of the URL
was inacc urate, exc essive or out of date.
(x) The c ourt erred in law in finding that the c ontent of the URL title was inacc urate.
(xi) The court erred in law in its determination that the ac curate transposition of a stat ement of opinion from a posting or
thread to a URL title or heading had the effec t of elevating suc h stat ement of opinion to the s tatus of ac curate dat a.
(xii) The court erred in law in its balancing of the c ompeting interests in play as required by the Google Spain decision. In
particular, the c ourt erred in failing to give due or any weight t o the necessity to prote ct freedom of expression.
(xiii) The c ourt erred in law in failing to give due weight or any w eight to
• The c ontext in which that information was published (i.e. as part of an online exchange of views in which Mr.
Savage himself had participated in an ac tive way, posting three se parate entries); and
• more especially, the fac t that t he expressions of opinion posted to t he relevant we bpages (including the spec ific
content of the URL title) were c learly prompted by, and c onnect ed with, material that had bee n put into t he public
domain by Mr. Savage a s an integral part of t he platform he was presenting t o voters in t he course of the elec tions
for Fingal County Council.