Yves Bot, an advocate general for the Court of Justice of the European Union the last 13 years, died June 9 at the age of 71. Bot was a lifelong law practitioner, serving as public prosecutor at the Regional Court of Paris and principal state prosecutor at the Court of Appeal of Paris before joining the CJEU in 2006.
“Mr. Yves Bot was a staunch defender of the European Union and worked throughout his career both to make the justice system more humane and to bring it closer to the people whom it serves,” the CJEU said in a news release.
French Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet also confirmed Bot’s passing. "He knew how to federate the energies and to bring with him all those who were committed to his side," Belloubet said in a statement. "He has marked generations of magistrates by his professionalism always tinged with humor, his ability to deal with the most complex situations with serenity and a reassuring sang-froid that he knew how to keep in all circumstances. ... France loses a very great magistrate."
Bot was one of 11 advocate generals to the CJEU, which takes into account and usually follows recommendations handed down by the advocate generals. He is best known in privacy circles for at least two opinions that went on to influence a pair of privacy-related cases heard by the CJEU.
The first and most impactful of the two opinions came in 2015 when Bot opined that the EU-U.S. Safe Harbor framework for cross-border data sharing was legally invalid. The CJEU eventually dissolved Safe Harbor while it also opened up negotiations toward the creation of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield in place now.
“The law and practice of the United States allow the large-scale collection of the personal data of citizens of the EU which is transferred, without those citizens benefiting from effective judicial protection,” Bot wrote in his opinion on Safe Harbor. “The access enjoyed by the United States intelligence services to the transferred data constitutes an interference with the right to respect for private life and the right to protection of personal data, which are guaranteed by the Charter.”
Two years later, Bot penned an opinion stating that EU data privacy regulators were empowered to take direct action against Facebook if they suspect illegal data processing.
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