Relation Between and Meaning of „due regard“ and „regard“

“Public authorities must take both factors properly into account in the way they carry out their functions, giving the appropriate consideration (based on relevance and proportionality) to meet both the due regard and regard duties.” From Section 75, Northern Ireland Act 1998 and Section 49A, Disability Discrimination Act 1995(2014, p. 4)

According to the legal equality duties in Section 75 (1) and (2) decision makers of public authorities should have due regard for the equality between groups of different protected characteristics and have regard for the promotion of good relations between them. This mainly means that both aspects have to be considered when executing functions in Northern Ireland. When doing this it must be ensured that the equality of opportunity and the promotion of good relations are weighed in relation to the function of the respective institution. Particularly the duty to promote good relations can be of a higher relevance for some functions than for others. This proportional approach is meant to ensure how significant the promotion of equal opportunities and good relations is for a particular measure or decision. Additionally, equality duties must be considered in advance and without bias and not shortly before or even after decisions are made. In this way the consideration of equality duties does not determine a positive or negative decision. Instead both duties are adequately considered in preceding processes.

According to the law, ‘due regard’ exists when the degree of consideration is appropriate for the specific circumstances of the decision or measure. This can be vary for different institutions. As a general rule, the consideration of the equality duty should be proportional to the relevance of the measure or decision.

The term ‘regard’ is defined by the law as the fact that the duty to promote good relations between individuals, who are potentially affected by discrimination, must be considered properly and reasonably. It is not meant to be taken in absolute terms nor as a requirement to exactly comply with its provisions.

© Büro zur Umsetzung von Gleichbehandlung e.V. 2018