1. Introduction to European non-discrimination law: context, evolution and key principles

Last Updated on August 11, 2019 by LawEuro

Handbook on European non-discrimination lawContents

EU Issues covered CoE
Charter of Fundamental Rights, Art. 20 (equality before the law) and 21 (non-discrimination) Equality and non-


ECHR, Art. 14 (prohibition of discrimination), Protocol No. 12, Art. 1 (general prohibition of discrimination)

ESC, Art. E, Protocol Providing for a System of Collective Complaints (Revised)

Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention)

Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings

Convention on Access to Official Documents

Protocol to the Convention on Cybercrime

Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine

ECtHR, Khamtokhu and Aksenchik v. Russia [GC],

Nos. 60367/08 and 961/11, 2017

ECtHR, Pichkur v. Ukraine, No. 10441/06, 2013

ECtHR, Savez crkava “Riječ života” and Others v. Croatia,

No. 7798/08, 2010

TEU, Art. 2, 3 (3), 9
TFEU, Art. 10
Employment Equality Directive (2000/78/EC)
Racial Equality Directive (2000/43/EC)
Gender Goods and Services

Directive (2004/113/EC)

Gender Equality Directive

(recast) (2006/54/EC)

CJEU, C-571/10, Kamberaj v. IPES [GC], 2012
CJEU, C-236/09, Association Belge des Consommateurs Test-Achats ASBL v. Conseil des ministres [GC], 2011 TFEU, Art. 18

Directive on the right to family reunification (2003/86/EC)

Directive on long-term legally resident third country nationals (2003/109/EC)

This introductory chapter outlines the origins of non-discrimination law in Europe. From the outset, it is important to note that national judges and prosecutors are required to apply the guarantees provided for under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and those under the EU non-discrimination directives, irrespective of whether a party to the proceedings invokes them. This is consequent to the legal principles established in each respective system, for example, the direct effect of Union law in the EU Member States and the direct applicability afforded to the ECHR,[1 ] which means that it must be complied with in all EU and Council of Europe (CoE) Member States.


1. See CJEU, C-555/07, Seda Kücükdeveci v. Swedex GmbH & Co. KG [GC], 19 January 2010.


1. Introduction to European non-discrimination law: context, evolution and key principles

1.1. Context and background to European non-discrimination law

1.1.2. European Union: development of nondiscrimination law

1.1.3. European non-discrimination law and UN human rights treaties

1.2. Who receives protection under European non-discrimination law?

1.3. Scope of the ECHR: Article 14 and Protocol No. 12

1.4. Scope of EU non-discrimination law

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