Intersectionality and the Notion of Disability in EU discrimination law

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Abstract

Defining the characteristics targeted by banning discrimination constitutes a central challenge for EU discrimination law, and defining disability is particular-ly challenging due to the dispute around the very concept of disability. From 2006, the Court of Justice has wrestled with this definition in six judgments, five of which were delivered from 2013. Instead of classifying the case law definition as conforming to a medical or social model of disability, this article analyses the case law with a view to illustrate challenges of defining discrimination grounds generally, demanding that a sufficiently precise and non-exclusive definition of each discrimination ground can be achieved by re-focusing EU discrimination law around the nodes of sex, race and disability. The analysis exposes that the ECJ definition of disability neither complies with the UN CRPD nor adequately responds to intersectionality theory, for example because the definition is exclu-sionary in relation to female experience of disability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-63
Number of pages29
JournalCommon Market Law Review
Volume53
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016

Keywords

  • EU law
  • Discrimination Law
  • Disability, social model
  • Intersectionality
  • Discrimination Grounds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Law

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