Colm O’Cinneide is Professor of Constitutional and Human Rights Law at University College London and has published extensively in the field of comparative constitutional, human rights and anti-discrimination law.
Janneke Gerards is Professor of Fundamental Rights Law at the Montaigne Centre for Rule of Law and Administration of Justice at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her research focuses on fundamental rights, equal treatment law, judicial review and new technologies.
Colm O’Cinneide started his presentation by noting that while the number of discrimination cases in front of the CJEU continues to drop, there were nevertheless some significant judgements in 2022. Furthermore, he observed that the Court is now engaging more with Advocate General (AG) opinions and other sources of international law, such as the ECHR and the CRPD.
He continued by presenting important judgements in a number of areas, including disability, religion and belief, and gender, as well as age discrimination, where he observed that greater familiarity with this issue at the national level means it is now less frequently dealt with by the Court than some years ago. He concluded by emphasising the further evolution of EU law taking place through these recent judgements and by noting that AG opinions, in particular, seem to be increasingly aware of the social context of a case.
In the second part of the presentation, Janneke Gerards presented some important judgements delivered by the ECtHR in 2022. While there was a new record of 42 judgements on discrimination cases this year, she focused on a number of significant cases which demonstrate certain tendencies in the Court’s line of argumentation.
First, she looked at several domestic violence cases. Related to these cases, she especially highlighted the high burden of proof when trying to argue for a violation under Article 14 ECHR which makes the protection offered by this article inadequate.
In addition, she presented significant cases concerning systematic discrimination (where some positive developments can be seen), ethnic profiling (where she saw some problems related to the fact that the Court demanded proof beyond reasonable doubt that a discriminatory treatment was due to ethnic profiling) and finally two Grand Chamber judgements regarding social security and social benefits.