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Home >> Resources >> External publications >> European equality law review 2017/2

European equality law review 2017/2

December 15th 2017

This is the sixth issue of the biannual European equality law review, produced by the European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination (EELN). This issue provides an overview of legal and policy developments across Europe, and as far as possible reflects the state of affairs from 1 January to 30 June 2017. The aim of the EELN is to provide the European Commission and the general public with independent information regarding gender equality and non-discrimination law, and more specifically the transposition and implementation of the EU equality and non-discrimination directives.


This law review contains a section relating to the most recent case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union and of the European Court of Human Rights, and a section detailing the most recent developments in legislation, case law and policy on the national level. It also contains four in-depth analytical articles.

In the field of non-discrimination law, Melanie Hack of the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy contributes an article which presents and analyses mandatory retirement age(s) in Germany from the perspective of the prohibition of age discrimination. Also in the field of nondiscrimination, Katayoun Alidadi of the KU Leuven, University of Houston and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology writes about the collection of equality data in the EU by analysing the legal frameworks, practices and key issues arising in all EU Member States.

In the field of gender equality Marlies Vegter, the gender expert for the Netherlands, takes a look at the support that is provided at the EU and the national level to self-employed workers in the EU to create a better work-life balance. Finally, an overarching perspective is provided through an article authored by Catharina Germaine from the Migration Policy Group on the scope for non-discrimination and equality related considerations in the EU legal framework on public procurement.

Equality Bodies

Apart from regular references to equality bodies in the chapter on Equality Data (as regards equality bodies’ need for data for awareness-raising and communication campaigns and their monitoring duties), there is a particular focus on the equality body in Norway.

On 16 June 2017, two new pieces of legislation were adopted by the Norwegian Parliament: one comprehensive Discrimination Act, largely replacing the previous legal framework which was distributed across several different acts; and another Act reorganising the equality bodies. (The Act on Gender Equality and Anti-Discrimination of 16 June 2017, No. 51; and the Act on the Equality and AntiDiscriminationOmbud and the Equality and Anti-Discrimination Tribunal (AOT) of 16 June 2017, No. 50.) Both laws will be in force as of 1 January 2018.

The revised Act regulating the equality body transfers the individual complaint mechanism from the Equality and Antidiscrimination Ombud to the Equality Tribunal. The current role of the Ombud will remain unchanged with regard to proactive promotion of equality and combating of discrimination on the one hand and of monitoring compliance of Norwegian law and practice with obligations pursuant to the CEDAW, CERD and CRPD on the other. The Ombud will also continue to have legal standing to bring discrimination complaints to court on behalf of identified victim(s) or to intervene in legal cases concerning discrimination, as cocounsel or amicus curiae.

The Equality Tribunal will handle individual complaints, as the only administrative complaint mechanism. The Tribunal will be given powers to award redress/compensation for non-monetary damage in cases where a breach of the anti-discrimination legislation is found. A complaint to the Equality Tribunal will interrupt limitation periods for claims, and decisions of the Tribunal will be directly enforceable in cases where compensation has been awarded. The Tribunal will remain a collegial tribunal with no full-time employees, but will be supported by a staff/secretariat of full-time employees who will prepare the cases.

It has been a political decision to relocate the Tribunal secretariat staff to Bergen, which may imply that a number of the current staff may resign, which could be an impediment to the effective functioning of the Tribunal in the short term.

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