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Court of Justice of the EU Rules Collective and Inaccessible Electrical Metres Discriminate against Roma: CHEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria AD v. Komisia za zashtita ot diskriminatsia (C-83/14)

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image of European Journal of Migration and Law

The judgment of 16 July 2015 is ECJ’s first substantive ruling in a case concerning racial discrimination against Roma. This is noteworthy, given the centrality of Roma to the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights in the area of discrimination (on the European Court of Human Rights, Roma and racial discrimination, see C. Cahn (2015), ‘Triple Helix: The Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, Roma and Racial Discrimination’, in: Claude Cahn, Human Rights, State Sovereignty and Medical Ethics, Leiden: Brill Nijhoff, pp. 106–148.). The ECJ ruling in the CHEZ case is important for a number of reasons, including for recognizing that the ban on discrimination by association applies also to cases of indirect discrimination. Its most significant contribution however is its reflections on the role of stigma in driving discrimination based on racial or ethnic origin. Also of note is its rejection of a number of approaches used in national law – in Bulgaria and elsewhere – as incompatible with European Union anti-discrimination law. The judgment is among the most important ECJ rulings to date on discrimination. The current article discusses some of the noteworthy aspects of the case.

Affiliations: 1: Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Serbia Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Belgrade, Serbia Geneva Switzerland


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