Supporting the Judicial System in the Implementation of the Anti - discrimination Law in Bulgaria

Analysis of Existing Policies and Case Law in EU in the Field of Gender Equality
Wednesday 18 August 2004
article translations български, français

The antidiscrimination legislation and the policy for ensuring gender equality are two components of the legal standards of the European Union on which all accessing countries are negotiating within the Chapter 13 “Social policy and employment”. These components need to be part of the domestic legislation and legal practice of each country.

On the one hand the establishment of particular legal guarantees for gender equality is among the main goals of EU and this goal is present in almost all spheres of activities. On the other hand, Article 13 of the Treaty of Amsterdam gives the chance to put in place general legislative measures for combating the different forms of discrimination, including the gender discrimination, but not limiting to it.

The General antidiscrimination law entered into force on January 1st 2004. It foresees the prohibition of all kind of direct and indirect discrimination based on gender, race, color, ethnicity, and citizenship, political and other conviction, religion or belief, disability, age, sexual orientation, marital status or descent.

The enforcement of the new law is an important step in increasing the opportunities for protection when the equality of treatment on the basis of gender is violated, particularly in the court, as the single opportunity for remedy and damage compensation. The availability and the enforcement of the Law against discrimination is far from being sufficient.

Officially in Bulgaria there is no relevant case law on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment of men and women.

A key point in the new law in the field of equal treatment and effective protection against gender discrimination is the reversal of the burden of proof in cases of violation. The introduction of this new regime in the Bulgarian law is quite unfamiliar for practicing lawyers in Bulgaria. The aim of this project is to show and familiarize Bulgarian legal professionals with the existing European practice.

Main goals and objectives of the project

- Raising the awareness of the court (and lawyers) on EU standards and requirements in the field of gender equality, particularly the defense in the court and the reversal of the burden of proof.

- Raising the awareness of the court on basic principles of gender equality provisions in the EU legislation enshrined in the new law for protection against discrimination.

- Practical support to judges and lawyers through drafting a handbook for lawyers with the title “The Burden of Proof in cases of gender discrimination in EU legislation – comparative review of EU case law”

Target groups

  • The project has one main target group: judges. The results of the project will be useful as well for other lawyers, researchers, NGOs and trade unions (according to Article 72 para.2 of the Law for protection against discrimination the trade unions and non-for-profit organizations could file a complaint on behalf of persons whose rights have been violated, or to become a party to a specific case).