Members’ section
Sign in
Personal identifiers

Equinet - European network of equality bodies

Home >> Resources >> External publications >> Handbook on European non-discrimination law – 2018 edition

Handbook on European non-discrimination law – 2018 edition

March 26th 2018

European non-discrimination law, as constituted in particular by the EU non-discrimination directives, and Article 14 of and Protocol 12 to the European Convention on Human Rights, prohibits discrimination across a range of contexts and grounds. This handbook examines European non-discrimination law stemming from these two sources as complementary systems, drawing on them interchangeably to the extent that they overlap, while highlighting differences where these exist.

It also contains references to other Council of Europe instruments, in particular the European Charter of Social Rights, as well as to relevant United Nations instruments. With the impressive body of case law by the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union in the non-discrimination field, it seems useful to present, in an accessible way, a handbook intended for legal practitioners – such as judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as law-enforcement officers – in the EU and Council of Europe Member States and beyond.

It has been published by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and Council of Europe.

Contents

  • Introduction to European non-discrimination law: context, evolution and key principles
  • Discrimination categories
  • Justification for less favourable treatment under European nondiscrimination law
  • Selected areas of protection
  • Protected grounds
  • Procedural issues in non-discrimination law

Background

In January 2010, the European Court of Human Rights and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights decided to cooperate on the preparation of a handbook on European case law concerning non-discrimination. We are now pleased to present an updated version of this handbook, which contains updated examples of relevant case law and an improved structure.

When the Lisbon Treaty entered into force, the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union became legally binding. Furthermore, the treaty provides for EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights. In this context, increased knowledge of common principles developed by the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights have become essential for the proper national implementation of a key aspect of European human rights law: the standards on non-discrimination. Furthermore, the work of the FRA is anchored in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and committed to the principles of universality, equality and leaving no one behind. In this context the handbook promotes SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries) and 16 (Promote just, peaceful and inclusive societies).

This handbook is designed to assist legal practitioners who are not specialised in the field of non-discrimination law, serving as an introduction to key issues involved. It is intended for lawyers, judges, prosecutors, social workers and persons who work with national authorities, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other bodies that may be confronted with legal questions relating to issues of discrimination. With the impressive body of case law developed by the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union in the non-discrimination field, it seems useful to present an updated and accessible handbook intended for legal practitioners – such as judges, prosecutors and lawyers, as well as lawenforcement officers – in the EU and Council of Europe member states and beyond. In particular, those at the forefront of human rights protection need to be aware of the non-discrimination principles, in order to be able to apply them effectively in practice. It is the national level that brings non-discrimination provisions to life, and it is here, on the ground, that the challenges become visible.

Download the Handbook from the FRA website