Transfers of personal data to the UK after BREXIT

Reference Number: IDPC010, Press Release Issue Date: Jan 25, 2019

When taking into account the current political situation concerning the eventual withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union, this Office is providing the following brief guidance to data controllers established in Malta who are currently transferring personal data to the UK and who, as part of their business operations, intend to continue doing so after the 29th of March 2019. The following two scenarios are possible as on 30th March 2019 at 00:00hrs when the UK will eventually leave the EU. 

1.       BREXIT Deal (Withdrawal Agreement negotiated between the UK Government and the European Commission)

 In the event that the UK exits the EU with a deal, nothing is envisaged to change for controllers until the end of 2020. Personal data could continue to be transferred to the UK without any restrictions or the need of adopting additional safeguards. This transitional period is specifically intended to give sufficient time to the European Commission to negotiate and adopt an adequacy decision enabling the continuation of data flows between the EU and UK following the lapse of such period.

 2.       No-Deal BREXIT

In the event of no-deal, on exit date, the UK will become a third country and free data flows to the UK will no longer be permissible. In these circumstances, data controllers will be required to rely on alternative tools ensuring appropriate safeguards, to legitimise transfers of personal data to the UK. The use of Standard Contractual Clauses, as one of these transfer mechanisms, is recommended. More information on the SCCs is accessible at the following hyperlink:   

In view of the evolving developments, controllers are being strongly encouraged to conduct, as soon as possible, an internal analysis of their processes and make the necessary preparations to respond to any eventuality that may happen.  This Office will remain available to provide controllers with any clarification or additional information on this specific subject matter.

The EDPB has adopted an information note relating  to the available transfer mechanisms under the GDPR for the transfer of personal data to the UK in case of a No-deal Brexit. In this document, the EDPB provides for practical steps organisations can take to prepare for a No-deal Brexit. The information note is available on the EDPB website at​