Legal basis for data processing

How to determine the legal basis for processing personal data

This guidance is for any member of University staff tasked with determining the legal basis for processing personal data to ensure that all data processing is lawful. 

You will need to use this guidance:

  • When customising a privacy notice to ensure it complies with current data protection legislation
  • When conducting a ‘data protection impact assessment’ (DPIA)
  • When otherwise collecting or receiving personal data for a new initiative

The legal basis

Whenever we use personal data we must have a legal basis for doing so.

Data protection legislation gives us a list of possible legal bases we can choose from.

If you are using special categories of (sensitive) personal data,  there are additional legal bases you must comply with. See the guidance on special categories.

How and when to use consent as the legal basis for processing personal data

When to use the legal basis that processing personal data is necessary for the performance of a contract

Processing personal data where there is a legal obligation

Processing is necessary to protect life and death of an individual

Processing personal data on the basis of public tasks

Using legitimate interests as a legal basis for processing personal data

Legal bases for processing special categories of personal data