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Can associations, organisations or other legal entities, who have a legitimate interest, engage, either on behalf or in support of the complainant, with his or her approval, in any judicial and/or administrative procedure concerning discrimination?

Key Area:
Anti-discrimination Legislation & Implementation
Discrimination, Equality
10/01/2012 - 08:56
Short Answer


Qualitative Info

 Law 59(I)/2004 (article 12) and Law 58(I)/2004 (article 14), which purport to transpose the two anti-discrimination Council Directives, do not go into any lengths to describe the type of entitles that may act on behalf or in support of victims; they merely provide that organisations with a legitimate interest and with the victim’s permission can represent a victim of discrimination in proceedings both before the Equality Body as well as before the Court. It is presumed that such organisations must at the very least be registered, or else they lack legal personality and legal capacity. The presumption is reinforced by the fact that Law 59(I)/2004 (roughly transposing the Racial Equality Directive), article 12, requires that in order for organisations or other legal persons to be able to represent and act on behalf of persons in applying to the courts or the equality body, such organisations must (in addition to the victim’s permission) have a provision in their memorandum and articles of association that the elimination of discrimination on the ground of racial or ethnic origin is part of their aims.

The equality body may investigate cases following applications by NGOs, chambers, organisations, committees, associations, clubs, foundations, trade unions, funds and councils acting for the benefit of professions or other types of labour, employers, employees or any other organised group, local authorities, public law persons, the Council of Ministers, the House of Parliament etc (The Combating of Racial and Some Other Forms of Discrimination (Commissioner) Law No. 42(1)/ 2004 (19.03.2004), Section 34(2)).  The equality body follows a flexible approach and does not demand to see members’ permissions or copies of articles of association in order to ensure that the law’s requirements are met before investigation begins.

 In the case of Law 58(I)/2004 (roughly transposing the Employment Equality Directive) article 14 provides that workers’ organisations or other organisations with a legitimate interest can act on behalf of their members with the members’ permission in claiming their right to resort to the Courts or to the equality body. The Equality Body is again flexible on this and does not demand proof of legitimate interest. The Courts can reject a case of ‘legitimate interest’ is not substantiated.

Groups affected/interested Migrants, Refugees, Roma & Travelers, Muslims, Ethnic minorities, Religious minorities, Linguistic minorities, Asylum seekers
Type (R/D) Islamophobia, Afrophobia, Arabophobia, Anti-roma/zinghanophobia, Religious intolerance, Inter-ethnic, Intra-ethnic, Nationalism, Homophobia, On grounds of disability, On grounds of other belief
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement, Employment - labour market, Housing, Health and social protection, Education, Religion
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