Universiteit Maastricht

Faculty of Law

Workshop on (Il)legitimate differential treatment [27-28 June 2013]

(Il)legitimate Differential Treatment

Maastricht Centre for European Law & Maastricht Centre for Human Rights

Thursday 27th June & Friday 28th June 2013

Since the expiry of the transposition period of the Racial and Employment Equality Directives in 2003, national anti-discrimination regimes have developed considerably. The past ten years have been marked by the broadening of the scope of EU anti-discrimination law, efforts to consolidate the definition of key legal concepts (e.g. Directive 2006/54), as well as the constitutionalisation of this area of law (e.g. Article 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union; ECJ, Kücükdevici Case). The EU conclusion of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, 2010) and the prospect of EU accession to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) exemplify the increasing relevance of international law in the fight against discrimination. Domestically, legislation, court judgments and equality bodies are building on this EU and international law framework, thereby expanding the reach of anti-discrimination law.

In recent years however, the Council has proven reluctant to extend the scope of EU anti-discrimination legislation any further. One of the underlying arguments made by member states (also reflecting an objection raised by employers and service providers), is that EU anti-discrimination law has gone far enough, or may actually have gone too far already, by imposing constraints on public as well as private actors. This workshop seeks to explore the underpinnings of this concern through a detailed analysis of the use of exceptions and justifications to the prohibition of discrimination under the existing provisions of EU law and the CRPD: how do public authorities and private operators seek to derogate or justify differential treatment and how do institutions, courts and equality bodies articulate these internal limits of anti-discrimination law? In other words, what are the main characteristics of those exceptions and justifications which are considered to be legitimate under current anti-discrimination law and how do European, national courts and equality bodies review such an assessment? These questions may help when looking forward and assessing prospects for future developments.

'Please note that the Karl Dittrich room where the event will take place is wheelchair accessible'