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Article 14 Notes

Law Notes > European Human Rights Law Notes

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A more recent version of these Article 14 notes – written by Oxford students – is available here.

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Article 14 ECHR: Freedom from Discrimination "The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status."

1. Introduction

1.Art 14 contains no general prohibition, but just Prohibiting discrimination in relation to other Convention rights.. It is also open ended: "any other status" (sexual orientation: Da Silva Mouta v Portugal, or paternity: Paulik v Slovakia)

2. But what is "equality", nebulous concept. 'Belgian Linguistics' case (No. 2):

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"Equality violated if distinction has no objective and reasonable justification: ie, no legitimate aim and not proportionate"

3. This means that a measure can conform with e.g Art 8 but still be discriminatory if does not pursue legitimate aim and not proportionate. Unfortunately, the Court does not always consider the Article 14 claim even when discrimination is raised.

2. The reach of Article 14 Rasmussen v Denmark

* Test: Does issue 'fall within the ambit' of one or more of the other Convention provisions? If not, Art 14 not engaged (like one line of reasoning in the Pretty case)

* NB: The other Convention right does not need to be violated. Art 14 has been interpreted in an effective way EB v France (2008) : Article 14 applies to additional rights, falling within the general scope of any Convention article, for which the state has voluntarily decided to provide (if allow single people to adopt, cannot prevent just because single person is gay) Van der Mussele v Belgium: Work or labour that is in itself normal may in fact be rendered abnormal if the choice of the groups or individuals bound to perform it is governed by discriminatory factors, which was precisely what the applicant contended had occurred in the present circumstances, (para 43) Price v UK (2002): (Article 3)Where the court finds a violation of another Convention provision, it may avoid the discrimination issue.

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