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Understanding the Implications of Article 2 of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Context of EU Case Law Developments

Frantziou, Eleni; Craig, Sarah


Sarah Craig


Conscious of the careful balance stemming from the Rights, Safeguards and Equality of Opportunity provisions of the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement 1998, it was clear that human rights guarantees underpinned by EU law would be a pivotal aspect of the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland within the Withdrawal Agreement. The commitment is particularly prominent in respect of equality law, as a guarantee that no diminution of rights and equality protections would result from withdrawal from the Union was built into Article 2(1) of the Protocol providing for non-diminution of rights in Northern Ireland post-Brexit. The purpose of this paper is to identify and analyse recent developments in EU equality case law which may trigger the non-diminution obligation from the entry into force of the Protocol to the date of writing, i.e. between 1 January 2021 and 1 September 2022. This analysis is underpinned by a systematic case-law review to provide an evidence-based analysis of: a) where divergence of equality protection standards is occurring presently, and b) where these concerns are likely to present in the future. The paper identifies four substantive areas, namely religious discrimination, disability discrimination, gender equality in the field of pensions and social security, and migration law, which raise significant and complex questions about the practical feasibility of the non-diminution obligation. In light of the thematic case-law analysis, the paper offers broader reflections on the future direction of Article 2 obligations, which could be used to approach the non-diminution commitment prospectively.


Frantziou, E., & Craig, S. (2022). Understanding the Implications of Article 2 of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the Context of EU Case Law Developments. Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly, 73(S2), 65-88.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 13, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 15, 2022
Publication Date Dec 15, 2022
Deposit Date Nov 1, 2022
Publicly Available Date Dec 16, 2023
Journal Northern Ireland Legal Quarterly
Print ISSN 0029-3105
Publisher School of Law
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 73
Issue S2
Pages 65-88
Public URL


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