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Niovi Vavoula

 Niovi Vavoula

Research Topic: European Law, Border Controls, EU Criminal law, Human Rights law


Postgraduate Research Student

Thesis title: 

Immigration and Privacy in the Law of the European Union: The Case of Databases


Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas and Professor Elspeth Guild

Summary of research:

This thesis explores the privacy concerns raised by the setting up, operation and reconfiguration of EU immigration databases, namely the second generation Schengen Information System (SIS II), the Visa Information System (VIS), the Eurodac and the forthcoming Entry/Exit System (EES). The student takes the view that the right to private life as enshrined in Articles 7 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights provides more holistic protection for individuals rather than the newly-born right to the protection of personal data, encompassed in Article 8 of the Charter. In this context, the thesis analyses the extent to which the EU legislative framework on centralised databases as a form of surveillance of movement constitutes a disproportionate interference with privacy protection.


Niovi Vavoula graduated from the Law School of the University of Athens, Greece in 2008. Between 2009 and 2010 she worked as a trainee attorney for a law firm in Athens. In the academic year 2010-11 she qualified as a lawyer in Greece (Athens Bar Association), while pursuing an LLM in European law at Queen Mary, University of London. Following the completion of her studies, she provided research assistance to Professor Valsamis Mitsilegas at the same university. At the same time, she served as a volunteer at the Legal Department of the Greek Council for Refugees and did an internship for the Greek Desk at EUROJUST. Between 2012 and 2015, Niovi received a studentship jointly awarded by the Department of Law and the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA). Since August 2015, she is Research Assistant in the Department of Law. Furthermore, she offers coordination assistance to the European Criminal Law Academic Network (ECLAN) and Editorial Assistant to the New Journal of European Criminal Law (NJECL).


Edited Collections

  • New Voices in European Criminal Law (with Valsamis Mitsilegas and Irene Wietzorek), special issue of the New Journal of European Criminal Law (Volume 7(1)).

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  • Counter-terrorism, Prevention and the Transformation of Citizenship in the European Union:  The Case of Foreign Fighters’ (with Valsamis Mitsilegas), Critical Studies on Terrorism (forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘The Evolving EU Anti-Money Laundering Regime: Challenges for Fundamental Rights and the Rule of Law’ (with Valsamis Mitsilegas), (2016) 23(2) Maastricht Journal of European & Comparative Law, pp 261-293
  • ‘The Role of Technology in the Fight against Human Trafficking: Reflections on Privacy and Data Protection Concerns’ (with Felicity Gerry QC and Julia Muraszkiewicz), (2016) 32(2) Computer Law & Security Review, pp 205–217.

Book chapters in edited volumes

  • ‘Using Technology to Combat Human Trafficking: Recognising the Implications for Privacy’ (with Felicity Gerry and Julia Muraszkiewicz) in Nora Cronin and Kimberly Ellis (eds) Human Trafficking (Lawyers & Judges Publishing, forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘The Normalisation of Surveillance in an Era of Global Mobility’ (with Valsamis Mitsilegas) in Philippe Bourbeau (ed) Handbook of Migration and Security (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2016)
  • ‘The Interplay between EU Immigration Law and National Criminal Law - The Case of the Return Directive’ in Valsamis Mitsilegas, Maria Bergström and Theodore Konstantinides (eds) Research Handbook on EU Criminal Law (Hart Publishing, 2016), p. 294-314
  • ‘Access to EURODAC by Law Enforcement Authorities and Europol for the Purposes of the Prevention, Detection and Investigation of Terrorist Offences and Other Serious Crimes’ in Despina Anagnostopoulou (ed.) ‘Developments and Challenges of the EU Area of Freedom, Security and Justice’ (Jean Monnet Chair of the University of Macedonia, 2016) (in Greek), p. 308-326
  • ‘The Recast Eurodac Regulation – Are Asylum-Seekers Treated as Suspected Criminals?’ in Céline Bauloz, Meltem Ineli Ciger, Sarah Singer and Vladislava Stoyanova (eds) Seeking Asylum in the European Union (Martinus Nijhoff, 2015), p. 247-273
  • ‘Criminal Law: Institutional Rebalancing and Judicialization as Drivers of Policy Change’ (with Valsamis Mitsilegas) in Florian Trauner and Ariadna Ripoll Servent (eds) Policy Change in the Area of Freedom, Security and Justice – How Institutions Matter (Routledge, 2015), p. 133-150.

Other publications

  • (Blog post) ‘I Travel, therefore, I Am A Suspect: An Analysis of the EU PNR Directive’ EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy Blog (forthcoming July 2016)
  • (Blog post) ‘Detecting Foreign Fighters: The Reinvigoration of the Schengen Information System in the Wake of Terrorist Attacks’, EU Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy Blog (3 May 2016)
  • (Case note) ‘Exchanging Information on Road Traffic Offences: - A Measure of Police Cooperation or Transport Policy? (Case note on C-43/12 Commission v Parliament and Council)’, (2016) 8(1) New Journal of European Criminal Law, pp 113-122
  • (Blog post) ‘Back from the Dead and Standing on Travellers’ Doorstep: The Case of the EU PNR Directive’ openDemocracy (9 February 2016)
  • (Editorial) ‘The Constitutional Significance of EU Criminal Law’ (with Irene Wieczorek), 2015 7(1) New Journal of European Criminal Law, p. 3-5
  • (Non peer reviewed article) ‘Who is Sharing Personal Data Obtained in Immigration Procedures with Whom?’ (with Elspeth Guild), ILPA European Update (September 2014)
  • (Case note in blog) ‘Detention of irregular migrants – The Returns Directive shows its poor design in Mahdi (C-146/14 PPU)’, European Law Blog (15 September 2014)
  • (Book review) ‘EU Security and Justice after Lisbon and Stockholm by Diego Acosta Arcarazo and Cian Murphy (eds)’, European Law Blog (27 May 2014).
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