This PhD research uses socio-legal methods to identify opportunities and risks for anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland emanating from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU (“Brexit”). It analyses the development of anti-discrimination law and policy in Northern Ireland with particular attention to the impact of EU anti-discrimination law and politics on the one hand, and the emergence of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement 1998 and its implementation on the other hand.
The project is based on the assumption that anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland is an essential element of achieving the aims of the Good Friday (Belfast) Agreement of overcoming inequalities on multiple bases, including gender, ethno-religious community identity and citizenship. As anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland was shaped by EU legislation, the first research objective is to identify the extent to which that task has in practice been fulfilled by implementing EU law, and as a consequence the extent to which “Brexit” will risk those achievements. Secondly, the project’s normative aspiration is to develop recommendations for the future of anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland, acknowledging that NI’s EU membership will end and thus identifying opportunities as well as risks of the retreat from EU obligations in this area.