In two hearings on 11 September 2018, the CJEU heard argument from a wide range of parties concerning the scope of obligations on Google and other search engine operators arising out of the 'right to be forgotten', in the most significant data protection cases before Europe's highest court since its 2014 judgment in C-131/12 Google Spain. The cases raise the fundamental question of the balance between privacy rights and freedom of expression and information.
The questions posed in the two Article 267 TFEU references from the Conseil
d'État concern the circumstances in which a search engine operator is required to remove links to a data subject, and the territorial scope of any obligation to do so, particularly, whether any such delisting must be national, EU-wide or global. Over 20 parties submitted written observations, with 14 appearing at the hearing, representing a range of government, supervisory, business and NGO interests.
Margaret Gray appeared for Ireland in both cases, C-136/17 G.C. and others v CNIL and C-506/17 Google v CNIL.