The EU Declaration of Digital Principles in Context

By Prof Stéphanie Laulhé Shaelou, Professor of European Law and Reform; Head, School of Law, University of Central Lancashire, Cyprus campus (‘UCLan Cyprus’); EU-POP Jean Monnet Module Leader and Academic Lead (; legal expert on the Horizon 2020 Sherpa project on Smart Information Systems and Human Rights (; and Visiting Fellow, Law Department, European University Institute, Florence and Mr Constantinos Alexandrou, Researcher, School of Law, School of Law, UCLan Cyprus.

This blog post discusses the foundations of the principles that should inform the European digital society. As EU citizens’ ‘digital footprint’ is an increasing manifestation of ‘digital life’, a Declaration of Digital Principles by the EU is essential for digital cohesion. The European Digital Public Legal Order should be built upon the foundations of the European Public Legal Order in a digital context, which is in turn based on the principles of the Rule of Law and good governance and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The traditional Principles of the Rule of Law in the Digital World

The establishment of a European Digital Public Legal Order requires the deconstruction of traditional principles of the Rule of Law and their reconstruction in the digital world, based on a modern and dynamic interpretation of conventional legal instruments available in the EU. In the first Rule of Law Report of the EU Commission in 2020, the principles of the Rule of Law were identified as legality, transparency and accountability, legal certainty, prohibition of arbitrary exercise of executive power (good governance), effective judicial protection by independent and impartial courts, effective judicial review for fundamental rights, separation of powers, and equality before the law. It is necessary to further consider and/or adapt these principles in the digital context in order to ensure the integrity of data.

Read the article at SHERPA project


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