Legal Obligations According to Section 75

The full text of Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 can be found here.

Section 75(1) and (2) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 establish public sector equality duties in Northern Ireland. The first of these duties in Section 75(1) is the so-called equality of opportunity. It requires authorities to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity in carrying out their functions. In order to ensure equality of opportunity preventive measures should be taken before and in addition to the elimination of discrimination.

Irrespective of the first obligation according to Section 75(1), the second obligation in Section 75(2) prescribes authorities to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between various groups in carrying out their functions. The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland (ECNI) uses the term “good relations”, for which it uses the following working definition: “the growth of relations and structures for Northern Ireland that acknowledge the religious, political and racial context of this society, and that seek to promote respect, equity and trust, and embrace diversity in all its forms” (Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 – A Guide for Public Authorities, 2010, p. 86).

The appropriate consideration of both objectives is meant to encourage institutions to deal with and tackle discrimination.

The next chapters will present the obligated institutions in Northern Ireland as well as the protected characteristics. Moreover the meanings of and relation between “due regard” and “regard” as well as the relation between the obligation of Section 75(1) and 75(2) will be explained.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2018