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Masterclass: Bottom-up guardians for privacy and data protection: Harnessing the power of NGOs and individuals in EU law

16 November @ 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Convene events are organised for members of the LSE community.

Speaker: Dr Vigjilenca Abazi

How, where, and to whom does EU law allocate power? The vigilance of individuals and NGOs in EU law is a promise yet to be attained. EU law is not neutral, it sets out a preference for a judicial pathway as the main means of contestation of EU law, and especially, the predominant way to attain legal change. Recognizing the biases in access to courts and the legal inconsistencies, EU law is slowly transforming to include new actions of redress and representative claims, thereby opening the opportunity for individuals to benefit from representation by NGOs in bringing legal actions. These reforms, which are yet to be mapped in a coherent manner and studied more systematically, however do not overcome a fundamental design imperfection: court-centric legal opportunity structure (CCLO). In addition to the challenges of access to courts and remedies arising from the CCLO approach, serious concerns exist that that CCLO leads to a highly litigious legal culture in the EU and that the only way to successfully gain protections is through strategic litigation. Current legal structures of EU law make engaging with the EU a costly, privileged, and distant opportunity. Focusing on privacy and data protection law, in this lecture, Dr Abazi maps the latest legal developments in how NGOs and individuals can monitor and enforce EU law. The lecture highlights the unique potential of these ‘bottom-up guardians​’ for the force of privacy and data protection, and EU law more generally.

Dr Vigjilenca Abazi is tenured Assistant Professor of European law at Maastricht University and currently a Visiting Researcher at Oxford University, Institute of European and Comparative Law. Previously, Dr. Abazi was a Fellow at Yale Law School – Information Society Project, Emile Noel Fellow at NYU School of Law, and Fulbright Scholar at Columbia Law School. She writes and teaches on EU law, whistleblowing, privacy, and cybersecurity. Her monograph ‘Official Secrets and Oversight in the European Union’ (Oxford University Press, 2019) shows the limitations of democratic oversight and access to justice in the EU. In 2020, The Royals Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences named Dr Abazi the recipient of its Early Career Award for her innovative scientific contribution and policy impact.



16 November
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Graham Wallace Room
5th floor, Old Building, Houghton Street, LSE WC2A 2AE United Kingdom + Google Map