Interactive Advertising Bureau
07 September 2023

Belgian Market Court Agrees That CJEU Decision is Needed Before Further Assessment of Action Plan Validation

Brussels, Belgium - 7 September 2023:

IAB Europe confirms today that, following IAB Europe’s appeal against the Belgian’s Data Protection Authority (APD) decision to validate its action plan, the Belgian Market Court has rendered an interim ruling and suspended its assessment of the validation decision pending responses from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The APD had unexpectedly decided to validate IAB Europe’s action plan in January 2023 in line with their February 2022 decision, despite the Market Court’s interim judgement of September 2022 which referred questions to the CJEU for a preliminary ruling and held that the APD was in breach of its duty of care.

To prevent the APD from pre-empting the referral to the CJEU and ensure that future iterations of the TCF are sustainable and aligned with EU-level interpretations of the GDPR, IAB Europe had filed a second appeal, this time against the APD’s decision to validate IAB Europe’s action plan.

The Market Court’s judgement shows that this validation (and enforcement) decision of the APD was taken too soon, as the Market Court explicitly indicated that the answers that will be provided by the CJEU will have a bearing on the legality of the APD decision to validate the action plan. 

This judgement will therefore allow a serene completion of the remaining legal proceedings, and removes the risk of introducing changes to the TCF that may ultimately be found inappropriate by the CJEU and rolled back.

"This decision is a reassuring confirmation that while TCF evolutions can go ahead, like the recent TCF v2.2 changes," said Townsend Feehan, CEO of IAB Europe, "now is not the time to force any modifications that might be significantly affected by the Court of Justice proceedings". In particular, measures in the action plan that directly stemmed from the APD's finding that the TC String constitutes personal data and that IAB Europe should be viewed as a (joint) controller from a data protection perspective are thus set aside for now. "Ultimately, it is up to the Court of Justice to provide guidance on these issues, and the Market Court decision serves as a reminder of this point", added Ms Feehan.

An updated FAQ regarding the APD decision can be found on IAB Europe’s website, here.


Press contact: 

Helen Mussard, CMO, IAB Europe - –  +44 (0) 7399 919594

About IAB Europe:

IAB Europe is the European-level association for the digital marketing and advertising ecosystem. Its mission is to promote the development of this innovative sector and ensure its sustainability by shaping the regulatory environment, demonstrating the value digital advertising brings to Europe’s economy, to consumers and to the market, and developing and facilitating the uptake of harmonised business partners that take account of changing user expectations and enable digital brand advertising to scale in Europe. 


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