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Certificate in Data Protection Practice

Start Date
Wednesday 7 February 2024 at 6:00 PM
2,500-word written assignment, including case-study scenarios (70%), multiple-choice questions (20%) and continuous assessment through online activities (10%)
Delivery Method
Online lectures on Wednesdays, with online workshops on Saturdays. Also available to view on-demand.
CPD Hours
The number of hours of CPD that you may claim in relation to this course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions.  For further information and the booklet, see CPD scheme.
Course Leader
Megan Murphy Byrne, Solicitor, Course Leader: m.murphybyrne@lawsociety.ie
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Short video testimonial

Application information

Applications for this course are now closed.  If you are interested in applying for a future offering of the course please register for our Interested List.

Solicitors and Trainees

To pay online click on the 'Book Now' button, otherwise please complete one of the application forms, containing our bank details, in the Download section below and send it to diplomateam@lawsociety.ie, indicating in your cover email should you need an invoice to pay by EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) or if you wish to pay by card over the phone.

Other Professionals

We welcome applications for this course from suitably qualified professionals. Your application must be approved before you can formally register on the course. To apply please email the following documents to diplomateam@lawsociety.ie:

  1. A completed application form (see below)
  2. Your Curriculum Vitae
  3. A short cover letter setting out your relevant experience

Please note, for non-members this course is subject to a supplemental fee of €175 bringing the total course fee to €1,900. No fees are required prior to approval.


Further information on this course including course structure, module scheme, faculty and workshop dates are set out below. Clicking on the links will bring you directly to that section or simply scroll through to read all the content.

 If you are interested in applying for a future offering of the course please register for our Interested List . 

Programme objectives

On completion of this training programme, participants will have:

  • A comprehensive knowledge of Regulation 2016/679 (the GDPR),
  • An understanding of the data protection framework in Ireland as governed by the Data Protection Acts 1988-2018,
  • An ability to apply that knowledge to a range of data protection issues in practice and to evaluate the role of the data protection officer,
  • The skills to advise on subject access requests, legitimate processing, data retention, consent, and international data transfers,
  • The confidence to recognise when a data breach has occurred and the notification requirements,
  • The ability to analyse sanctions for non-compliance and the powers of the Data Protection Commission,
  • The skills to conduct a data privacy impact assessment and a data protection audit and to report on an organisation’s data governance and security.

Programme structure and approach to learning

The General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation 2016/679) came into force in May 2018 and, as a result, the data protection landscape has changed significantly. This certificate will offer an in-depth analysis of the new data protection framework, the data protection legislation, and how to comply with the GDPR in practice. 

Data is a valuable commodity. Modern technologies allow for huge volumes of data to be collected by companies on a daily basis. There are many legal responsibilities associated with collecting, retaining, and processing such data. Data protection laws act to balance an individual’s right to privacy with a company’s ability to use that data. It is essential that the use of data is regulated to prevent against abuses, while at the same time ensuring that companies can use data efficiently and effectively.

In this popular certificate course, participants will be brought through the application of the law by experienced data protection practitioners and privacy consultants from private practice, the public sector, and from large multinationals. There is a strong focus on the GDPR and how to apply it in practice. This course will ensure that participants are equipped to deal with the compliance issues that arise in practice. 

Online and interactivity

Course materials, including webcasts of lectures, will be released each week online. In addition, online participation will be required. There will be three interactive online workshops to enable participants to connect with expert contributors and to consolidate their knowledge. Participants are also afforded the opportunity to interact with the expert contributors online each week. Participants are invited to have an open-minded approach to learning and are encouraged to interact and share knowledge with colleagues, as engaging online is a central element of online courses.


The programme is based on the following module scheme and covers key themes as listed below:

Module 1: Introduction to data protection law

  • Origins of data protection law,
  • Data protection concepts and principles,
  • Overview of data protection landscape.

Module 2: Data processing and sharing

  • Legitimate processing,
  • Data retention,
  • Data access requests,
  • Government data, public sector,
  • Data protection v freedom of Information,
  • Litigation – legal professional privilege/discovery.

Module 3: Data processing and personal rights

  • Removal, amendments, rectification,
  • The right to be forgotten,
  • Direct marketing,
  • Automated decision making,
  • State surveillance.

Module 4: General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

  • Overview of key changes,
  • Impact of changes on processing, consent, outsourcing,
  • Compliance and enforcement,
  • Requirement to have a data protection officer (DPO),
  • Changes referenced in each module throughout the certificate.

Module 5: Data governance

  • Role of the data protection officer,
  • Data breaches,
  • Powers of Data Protection Commission,
  • Privacy impact assessments.

Module 6: International data transfers

  • Data transfer risks,
  • Transfers outside EEA,
  • Effect of Brexit data transfers,
  • Supervision, enforcement, offences.

Module 7: Data protection compliance

  • CCTV,
  • Direct marketing,
  • Cookies, the Cloud,
  • Outsourcing,
  • Drones, biometrics, wearable technology.

Module 8: Data governance framework

  • Best practice models,
  • Information Asset Life Cycle,
  • Aligning data protection and data governance,
  • Standard frameworks and ISOs,
  • Measuring date protection compliance.

Module 9: Change management

  • Context and rationale,
  • Principles of change management,
  • Data protection training.

Module 10: Data security and technology

  • Physical security of data,
  • Virtual security of data,
  • Technical considerations.

Module 11: Ethics in data protection

  • Ethical first principles,
  • A framework for ethics in information management,
  • Practical application.

Module 12: Data protection update

  • Global view and EU v US approach,
  • Overview of recent data protection issues.


Workshops are interactive sessions that focus on group problem-solving and are designed to revise all modules covered to date and to consolidate the student’s knowledge.

1Subject Access RequestsSaturday 9 March 202410am-12pm
2Data BreachesSaturday 13 April 2024
3Data Privacy Impact AssessmentsSaturday 27 April 202310am-3pm


2,500-word assignment including case-study scenarios and multiple choice questions.

Who should attend?

This course is suitable for:

  • Solicitors, barristers, and trainees who currently advise or aspire to advise on data protection issues,
  • Data protection officers,
  • Compliance Officers,
  • IT professionals,
  • Professionals who are data controllers/processors and need to understand their legal obligations/duties,
  • All professionals advising on/working in the area of data protection who need to update their knowledge on the GDPR,
  • Suitably qualified professionals wishing to move into the area of data protection, and
  • Individuals who have an interest in protecting their personal data.

We welcome applications from others who are suitably qualified. Please note, for non-members this course is subject to a supplemental fee of €175 bringing the total course fee to €1,900. No fees are required prior to approval.


The teaching faculty for this certificate comprises a fantastic array of data protection experts.

Previous lecturers have included:

  • Chris Bollard, Matheson,
  • Fergal Crehan BL, Three,
  • Olga Gaffney, Michael J. Breen & Co. Solicitors,
  • Jeanne Kelly, Browne Jacobson Ireland,
  • Paul Lanois, Fieldfisher,
  • Simon McGarr, Data Compliance Europe,
  • Patricia McGovern, DFMG Solicitors,
  • Dr TJ McIntyre, UCD and Digital Rights Ireland,
  • Daragh O’Brien, Castlebridge,
  • Dr. Katherine O’Keefe,
  • Richard O’Sullivan, Solicitor,
  • Emma Redmond, Stripe,
  • Kenneth Ruane, An Garda Síochána,
  • Aoife Sexton, Trūata,
  • Kate Colleary, Colleary & Co and Pembroke Privacy 


We have designed our courses to enable you to satisfy as much of your CPD requirement as possible. Time spent attending lectures and workshops in person or completing these via e-learning as part of your course can be claimed towards your annual CPD requirement. The number of hours of CPD that you may claim in relation to your diploma/certificate course will depend on the way in which you access each of the individual sessions. For further information, visit the CPD scheme   and download the CPD booklet. 

The Diploma Centre team will host our annual CPD conference in November 2024. This complimentary event is a dedicated professional development and solicitor wellbeing and client care and professional standards session. We will post an invitation on your Diploma Hub page later in the year. 


Megan Murphy Byrne, Solicitor, Course Leader: M.MurphyByrne@LawSociety.ie .

*Every effort has been made to ensure the information contained in these pages is accurate and up to date. However timetables and course content are subject to change and date and time changes may occur due to factors beyond our control.


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This item is not available to book online