Age Discrimination and the Future Development of Elder Rights in the European Union: Walking Side by Side or Hand in Hand?

  • Helen Meenan


This chapter aims to capture this moment in time for seemingly distinct bodies of law namely, elder rights, age discrimination and human rights, in the European Union (EU). In some jurisdictions, perhaps these fields would not seem so alien to one another but in the English speaking Member States of the European Union, the United Kingdom and Ireland, they do. Standing back and appraising these fields of law, reveals that discrimination and human rights sometimes inhabit the same human rights instrument and, discrimination, human rights and elder rights sometimes inhabit the same fundamental rights instruments and social charters. Standing back also enables comparisons to be made between avenues to justice for age discrimination victims and those seeking to assert human rights for older persons. In the EU, age discrimination, human rights and elder rights are often separate and sometimes together, depending on their source and function. This need not be such a daunting idea. There is also change afoot that may close some normative and implementation gaps and build more bridges between these fields of law. Once adopted, EU age discrimination law beyond employment can help build an extra bridge between discrimination law on the one hand and elder rights on the other. Indirectly, it promises to make a serious contribution to elder law (as distinct from elder rights) which strictly speaking falls within the remit of the individual EU Member States at this point in time.


European Union National Court European Union Member State Lisbon Treaty Employment Directive 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kingston UniversityLondonUK

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