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Article

Access_open Positive State Obligations under European Law: A Tool for Achieving Substantive Equality for Sexual Minorities in Europe

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Positive obligations, sexual minorities, sexual orientation, European law, human rights
Authors Alina Tryfonidou
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article seeks to examine the development of positive obligations under European law in the specific context of the rights of sexual minorities. It is clear that the law should respect and protect all sexualities and diverse intimate relationships without discrimination, and for this purpose it needs to ensure that sexual minorities can not only be free from state interference when expressing their sexuality in private, but that they should be given the right to express their sexuality in public and to have their intimate relationships legally recognised. In addition, sexual minorities should be protected from the actions of other individuals, when these violate their legal and fundamental human rights. Accordingly, in addition to negative obligations, European law must impose positive obligations towards sexual minorities in order to achieve substantive equality for them. The article explains that, to date, European law has imposed a number of such positive obligations; nonetheless, there is definitely scope for more. It is suggested that European law should not wait for hearts and minds to change before imposing additional positive obligations, especially since this gives the impression that the EU and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) are condoning or disregarding persistent discrimination against sexual minorities.


Alina Tryfonidou
Alina Tryfonidou is Professor of Law, University of Reading.
Article

Access_open How Far Should the State Go to Counter Prejudice?

A Positive State Obligation to Counter Dehumanisation

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords prejudice, soft paternalism, empathy, liberalism, employment discrimination, access to goods and services
Authors Ioanna Tourkochoriti
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article argues that it is legitimate for the state to practice soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds in order to prevent behaviour that is discriminatory. Liberals accept that it is not legitimate for the state to intervene in order to change how people think because ideas and beliefs are wrong in themselves. It is legitimate for the state to intervene with the actions of a person only when there is a risk of harm to others and when there is a threat to social coexistence. Preventive action of the state is legitimate if we consider the immaterial and material harm that discrimination causes. It causes harm to the social standing of the person, psychological harm, economic and existential harm. All these harms threaten peaceful social coexistence. This article traces a theory of permissible government action. Research in the areas of behavioural psychology, neuroscience and social psychology indicates that it is possible to bring about a change in hearts and minds. Encouraging a person to adopt the perspective of the person who has experienced discrimination can lead to empathetic understanding. This, can lead a person to critically evaluate her prejudice. The paper argues that soft paternalism towards changing hearts and minds is legitimate in order to prevent harm to others. It attempts to legitimise state coercion in order to eliminate prejudice and broader social patterns of inequality and marginalisation. And it distinguishes between appropriate and non-appropriate avenues the state could pursue in order to eliminate prejudice. Policies towards eliminating prejudice should address the rational and the emotional faculties of a person. They should aim at using methods and techniques that focus on persuasion and reduce coercion. They should raise awareness of what prejudice is and how it works in order to facilitate well-informed voluntary decisions. The version of soft paternalism towards changing minds and attitudes defended in this article makes it consistent with liberalism.


Ioanna Tourkochoriti
Ioanna Tourkochoriti is Lecturer Above the Bar, NUI Galway School of Law.
Article

Access_open The Potential of Positive Obligations Against Romaphobic Attitudes and in the Development of ‘Roma Pride’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Roma, Travellers, positive obligations, segregation, culturally adequate accommodation
Authors Lilla Farkas and Theodoros Alexandridis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article analyses the jurisprudence of international tribunals on the education and housing of Roma and Travellers to understand whether positive obligations can change the hearts and minds of the majority and promote minority identities. Case law on education deals with integration rather than cultural specificities, while in the context of housing it accommodates minority needs. Positive obligations have achieved a higher level of compliance in the latter context by requiring majorities to tolerate the minority way of life in overwhelmingly segregated settings. Conversely, little seems to have changed in education, where legal and institutional reform, as well as a shift in both majority and minority attitudes, would be necessary to dismantle social distance and generate mutual trust. The interlocking factors of accessibility, judicial activism, European politics, expectations of political allegiance and community resources explain jurisprudential developments. The weak justiciability of minority rights, the lack of resources internal to the community and dual identities among the Eastern Roma impede legal claims for culture-specific accommodation in education. Conversely, the protection of minority identity and community ties is of paramount importance in the housing context, subsumed under the right to private and family life.


Lilla Farkas
Lilla Farkas is a practising lawyer in Hungary and recently earned a PhD from the European University Institute entitled ‘Mobilising for racial equality in Europe: Roma rights and transnational justice’. She is the race ground coordinator of the European Union’s Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination.

Theodoros Alexandridis
Theodoros Alexandridis is a practicing lawyer in Greece.

    The entry into force of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) pushed state obligations to counter prejudice and stereotypes concerning people with disabilities to the forefront of international human rights law. The CRPD is underpinned by a model of inclusive equality, which views disability as a social construct that results from the interaction between persons with impairments and barriers, including attitudinal barriers, that hinder their participation in society. The recognition dimension of inclusive equality, together with the CRPD’s provisions on awareness raising, mandates that states parties target prejudice and stereotypes about the capabilities and contributions of persons with disabilities to society. Certain human rights treaty bodies, including the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and, to a much lesser extent, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, require states to eradicate harmful stereotypes and prejudice about people with disabilities in various forms of interpersonal relationships. This trend is also reflected, to a certain extent, in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights. This article assesses the extent to which the aforementioned human rights bodies have elaborated positive obligations requiring states to endeavour to change ‘hearts and minds’ about the inherent capabilities and contributions of people with disabilities. It analyses whether these bodies have struck the right balance in elaborating positive obligations to eliminate prejudice and stereotypes in interpersonal relationships. Furthermore, it highlights the convergences or divergences that are evident in the bodies’ approaches to those obligations.


Andrea Broderick
Andrea Broderick is Assistant Professor at the Universiteit Maastricht, the Netherlands.

Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor International Human Rights and Minorities, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open The Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000: Proposals for Legislative Reform to Promote Equality through Schools and the Education System

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Transformative pedagogy, equality legislation, promotion of equality, law reform, using law to change hearts and minds
Authors Anton Kok, Lwando Xaso, Annalize Steenekamp e.a.
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article, we focus on how the education system can be used to promote equality in the context of changing people’s hearts and minds – values, morals and mindsets. The duties contained in the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act 4 of 2000 (‘Equality Act’) bind private and public schools, educators, learners, governing bodies and the state. The Equality Act calls on the state and all persons to promote substantive equality, but the relevant sections in the Equality Act have not been given effect yet, and are therefore currently not enforceable. We set out how the duty to promote equality should be concretised in the Equality Act to inter alia use the education system to promote equality in schools; in other words, how should an enforceable duty to promote equality in schools be fashioned in terms of the Equality Act. Should the relevant sections relating to the promotion of equality come into effect in their current form, enforcement of the promotion of equality will take the form of obliging schools to draft action plans and submit these to the South African Human Rights Commission. We deem this approach inadequate and therefore propose certain amendments to the Equality Act to allow for a more sensible monitoring of schools’ duty to promote equality. We explain how the duty to promote equality should then play out practically in the classroom to facilitate a change in learners’ hearts and minds.


Anton Kok
Anton Kok is Professor of Jurisprudence at the Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria.

Lwando Xaso
Lwando Xaso is an independent lawyer, writer and historian.

Annalize Steenekamp
Annalize Steenekamp, LLM, is a Multidisciplinary Human Rights graduate from the University of Pretoria.

Michelle Oelofse
Michelle Oelofse is an Academic associate and LLM candidate at the University of Pretoria.

Mark Walters
Mark Walters is Professor of Criminal Law and Criminology, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK. Contact author: Mark.Walters@sussex.ac.uk.
Pending Cases

Case C-130/20, Gender Discrimination, Pension

YJ – v – Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS), reference lodged by the Juzgado de lo Social n.º3 de Barcelona (Spain) on 9 March 2020

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Gender Discrimination, Pension
Case Reports

2020/14 Sickness absence related to employee’s disability (DK)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 2 2020
Keywords Disability Discrimination, Unfair Dismissal
Authors Christian K. Clasen
AbstractAuthor's information

    Recently, the Danish Eastern High Court found that an employee’s sickness absence was a result of the employer’s failure to comply with its obligation to offer reasonable accommodation for the employee’s disability. For that reason the employee, who was dismissed in pursuance of the Danish ‘120-day rule’, was entitled to compensation for unfair dismissal under the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.

    In a recent Supreme Court decision, it was held by a 4-1 majority that there is no reason, in principle, why the provision of ‘reasonable accommodation’ for an employee with a disability should not involve the redistribution of duties.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is an attorney-at-law at Mason Hayes & Curran, Dublin.

    The Federal Labour Court of Germany (Bundesarbeitsgericht, ‘BAG’) has decided that a social plan that distinguished between employees who were born in 1960 or later and employees who were born before 1960 for the calculation of severance payment did not constitute unjustified age discrimination. However, a regulation in a social plan which referred to the “earliest possible” entitlement to a statutory pension when calculating the severance payment constituted unjustified indirect discrimination against disabled persons.


Iness Gutt
Ines Gutt is an attorney-at-law at Luther Rechtsanwaltsgesellschaft mbH.
Article

Why a Crimes Against Humanity Convention from a Perspective of Post-Soviet States?

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords crimes against humanity, criminal law, ICC Statute, implementation, post-Soviet States
Authors Sergey Sayapin
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most post-Soviet States have introduced penal responsibility for crimes against humanity, either explicitly or under alternative headings. As a rule, their respective criminal laws are modelled after relevant provisions of the Draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind or the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The International Law Commission’s adoption of the Draft Articles on Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity represents an appropriate occasion for post-Soviet States that have not yet penalized crimes against humanity to bring their criminal laws into fuller conformity with customary international criminal law.


Sergey Sayapin
LLB, LLM, Dr. iur., PhD, Associate Professor of International and Criminal Law and Director of the LLB. in International Law Programme at the School of Law, KIMEP University (Almaty, Kazakhstan).
Article

Gender and the ILC’s 2019 Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity

Journal African Journal of International Criminal Justice, Issue 2 2020
Keywords gender, crimes against humanity, international criminal law, Rome Statute
Authors Indira Rosenthal and Valerie Oosterveld
AbstractAuthor's information

    The International Law Commission’s Draft Articles on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Humanity document is the latest international instrument to address gender-based crimes under international law and the first to do so outside the context of international courts. The elaboration of a treaty on crimes against humanity provides a critical opportunity to affirm that gender-based crimes are among the gravest crimes under international law. This article examines discussions on the meaning of the term ‘gender’ under the ILC’s Draft Articles, with reference to the discussions two decades prior on the definition of ‘gender’ in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the basis for the Articles’ consideration of sexual and gender-based violence. It then turns to the ILC consultation process, and the 2019 discussion of the ILC’s Draft Articles in the Sixth (Legal) Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on the term ‘gender’. Additionally, it considers a number of concerns raised by States and civil society on the definition of some of the gender-based crimes included in the Draft Articles and concludes by arguing for a comprehensive gender analysis of all of the Draft Articles.


Indira Rosenthal
Indira Rosenthal, Independent Consultant, Gender, Law and Justice; PhD Candidate, Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania (Australia).

Valerie Oosterveld
Valerie Oosterveld, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law (Canada).

    The Bulgarian Supreme Administrative Court in a decision of 24 June 2019 has ruled that the mere comparison between the job descriptions of employees is not sufficient basis for establishing whether the employees are carrying out the same work or work of equal value and the courts should also take into consideration the practical aspects of the work, the specific working conditions and the tasks actually carried out.


Kalina Tchakarova
Kalina Tchakarova is a partner at Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov and Velichkov.

    The Danish Western High Court recently found that an employee who had entered into a severance agreement – and who was represented by her professional organisation during this process – was barred from claiming compensation under the Danish Anti-Discrimination Act, implementing Directive 2000/78.


Christian K. Clasen
Christian K. Clasen is a partner at Norrbom Vinding, Copenhagen.
Case Reports

2020/34 Challenge to validity of Workplace Relations Act 2015 unsuccessful (IR)

Journal European Employment Law Cases, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Unfair Dismissal, Fair Trial, Miscellaneous
Authors Orla O’Leary
AbstractAuthor's information

    A recent challenge to the constitutionality of the Irish Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) has failed. The applicant in the case at hand argued that the WRC was unconstitutional for two reasons: (a) that the WRC carries out the administration of justice in breach of the general constitutional rule that only the courts may administer justice; and (b) several of the statutory procedures of the WRC were so deficient that they failed to vindicate the applicant’s personal constitutional rights. The High Court of Ireland dismissed both arguments.


Orla O’Leary
Orla O’Leary is a Senior Associate at Mason Hayes & Curran.

    The Brussels Labour Court of Appeal, in a judgment of 10 September 2019, has ruled that the notion of ‘maternity’ contained in the Belgian Gender Act does not go as far as protecting mothers against discrimination with regards to childcare, since this would confirm a patriarchal role pattern. However, a recent legislative change introducing ‘paternity’ as a protected ground might cast doubt on the relevance of this ruling for the future.


Gautier Busschaert
Gautier Busschaert is an attorney-at-law at Van Olmen & Wynant, Brussels.
Article

Increasing Access to Justice through Online Dispute Resolution

Journal International Journal of Online Dispute Resolution, Issue 1 2020
Keywords ODR, fairness, disability, accommodation, accessibility
Authors Wendy Carlson
AbstractAuthor's information

    Online dispute resolution has been posed as a way to further increase access to justice. This article explores the concept of using ODR to increase both ‘access’ and ‘justice’ within the dispute resolution system. The concept of increasing access to the dispute resolution system includes a wide variety of ideas: providing dynamic avenues into the legal process to better serve more people, particularly those with physical disabilities, increasing accessibility to low-income communities and ensuring the platform can be used by non-native English speakers. ODR provides the potential to greatly impact the court system by making the court process more efficient and accurate. While there is great value in integrating ODR into the dispute resolution system, the ODR system itself creates a variety of barriers. In order to effectively increase access to justice through ODR, the ODR system must be developed to maximize ‘accessibility’. The second prong to this discussion explores the concept of ‘justice’ within the context of ODR. Critics of ODR purport that the system values efficiency over justice. This article analyses the legitimacy of ODR as a judicial system through three key factors: representation of individual views, neutrality in decision-making, and trust.


Wendy Carlson
Juris Doctor Candidate, Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
Article

Law Reform Bills in the Parliament of the United Kingdom

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2020
Keywords law reform, consolidation, statute law, parliament, Law Commission
Authors Andrew Makower and Liam Laurence Smyth
AbstractAuthor's information

    The officials responsible for the procedures for scrutiny of proposed legislation in the UK Parliament and for the accuracy and integrity of legislative text describe how the UK Parliament scrutinizes consolidation and law reform bills and the government’s law reform programme, test the proposition that law reform is impeded by a shortage of parliamentary time, and survey ways in which Parliament could encourage and facilitate such legislation.


Andrew Makower
Andrew Makower, Clerk of Legislation, House of Lords.

Liam Laurence Smyth
Liam Laurence Smyth, Clerk of Legislation, House of Commons.
Article

Access_open Age Barriers in Healthcare

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 1 2020
Keywords age discrimination, age equality, health care
Authors Rachel Horton
AbstractAuthor's information

    Age limits, minimum and maximum, and both explicit and ‘covert’, are still used in the National Health Service to determine access to a range of health interventions, including infertility services and cancer screening and treatment. Evidence suggests that chronological age is used as a proxy for a host of characteristics in determining access to healthcare: as a proxy for the capacity of an individual to benefit from an intervention; for the type of harm that may result from an intervention; for the likelihood of such benefit or harm occurring; and, in some cases, for other indicators used to determine what may be in the patient’s interest. Age is used as a proxy in this way in making decisions about both individual patients and wider populations; it may be used where no better ‘marker’ for the relevant characteristic exists or – for reasons including cost, practicality or fairness – in preference to other available markers. This article reviews the justifications for using age in this way in the context of the existing legal framework on age discrimination in the provision of public services.


Rachel Horton
Lecturer University of Reading.
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