Exploring Positive Action from a Legal Perspective in EU and Non-EU Countries

By Mark Bell, Lisa Waddington and Uduak Archibong.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Positive action is a highly contested concept and its meaning varies across states. Law plays a key role in shaping the boundaries of positive action. This paper presents the findings of a comparative study of law and positive action both inside and outside the European Union. It sets out the approach to positive action within European Community (EC) law and, based on that, constructs a legal definition of positive action. It then turns to consider practice at domestic level and uncovers a broad diversity of approaches. The non-EU comparator countries (USA, Canada and South Africa) have been more willing to impose obligations on public and private bodies to engage in positive action than have been the EU Member States considered in this study. Notwithstanding the constraints deriving from EC legislation on positive action measures, there is some evidence of a trend towards duties to take positive action emerging within the EU Member States.

Keywords: Affirmative Action, Positive Action, European Union, Courts, Equality Grounds, Disability, Gender, Positive Action, Roma

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp.43-54. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.197MB).

Prof. Mark Bell

Professor, Centre for European Law and Integration, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

Mark Bell is a Professor at the Centre for European Law and Integration, University of Leicester, UK.

Prof. Lisa Waddington

Professor, European Disability Law, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands

Lisa Waddington holds the European Disability Forum Chair in European Disability Law at Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Prof. Uduak Archibong

Professor and Director, Centre for Inclusion and Diversity, School of Health Studies, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

Uduak Archibong is Professor of Diversity and Director of the Centre for Inclusion and Diversity at the University of Bradford, UK and a Visiting Professor at the University of Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa.

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