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Making Europe more Equal: A Legal Duty?

December 15th 2016

This study examines and analyses the design and implementation of statutory duties in equal treatment legislation that aim to go beyond a prohibition on discrimination to promote equality. These encompass preventive duties, institutional duties and mainstreaming duties. The study explores and assesses the role of, and engagement by, equality bodies in their implementation. In doing so, it draws from the experience and perspective of equality bodies involved in implementing such statutory duties.

The Research

The purpose of the study is to map out and compare these three types of statutory duty in different jurisdictions and to examine their advantages, challenges and possible shortcomings in seeking to secure more equal societies. It is to establish and assess the roles accorded to equality bodies in the implementation of such duties and to advance suggestions for equality bodies to promote their further development and effective implementation.

Twenty one equality bodies from sixteen jurisdictions responded to the survey. Follow-up exchanges were pursued with fifteen equality bodies in fourteen jurisdictions. The contribution of the staff members of all twenty two equality bodies has been central to preparing this report and is much appreciated.

The Report

This report explores international standards for statutory duties. It examines the ways these duties are framed. It establishes the rationale for such an approach to equality and sets out the case for their enactment. It establishes indicators for assessing these duties.

The report then examines the various legal provisions made for statutory duties and establishes a typology for each type of duty. Case studies of the different approaches to providing for statutory duties are included. This legal provision is assessed.

The report examines the implementation of statutory duties in order to identify and explore the different tools that are employed. Case studies of these tools are included. The report then identifies the roles played by equality bodies in implementing statutory duties. It sets out and explores the activities engaged in by equality bodies in this work.

Finally, some conclusions are drawn. Future perspectives are suggested for the further development of statutory duties and for evolving the role of equality bodies.

This report was commissioned by Equinet and written by Niall Crowley, independent expert.

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Making Europe more Equal: A Legal Duty? (2016)
Making Europe more Equal: A Legal Duty? (2016)
Construire une Europe plus égale: une obligation légale?
Construire une Europe plus égale: une obligation légale?


An accessible word document can be downloaded here in English and French