European network of legal experts in the non-discrimination field
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European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination

The European network of legal experts in gender equality and non-discrimination, established in December 2014, combines two previously existing networks: the European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field and the European Network of Legal Experts in the field of Gender Equality.

The gender equality network had a long history, starting with its establishment back in 1983. Until the adoption of the Treaty of Amsterdam, the only discrimination grounds addressed in Treaty provisions were nationality and sex. Since 1975 a series of directives have been adopted in order to implement the principle of equal treatment between women and men at the national level and some 200 cases on sex discrimination have been decided by the Court of Justice. With the expertise of experienced experts, this network assisted the Commission in its task to monitor the correct implementation of the gender equality acquis communautaire. In 1983, only 6 Member States were participating in this network, in contrast to the 35 countries now represented under the current contract.

The European Network of Legal Experts in the Non-discrimination Field was established in 2004 with the main aim to provide the Commission with independent advice on all the grounds of discrimination covered by Directive 2000/43/EC and Directive 2000/78/EC. The network was a follow-up to three separate networks, one of which dealt with racial or ethnic origin and religion or belief, one with disability and one with sexual orientation.

In the period 2012 - 2014 the gender equality and the non-discrimination networks increasingly worked together on:

  • coordination of and cooperation between legal experts in both gender equality law and non-discrimination law for the delivery of specific ad-hoc requests for certain countries or across multiple countries;
  • consultation between the two networks on the work program, deliverables and methodologies
  • the programming and carrying out of the annual seminar.

The new joint network involves the vast majority of the legal experts whom have been part of the previous separate networks.  The overall management of the network rests with Utrecht University, the Migration Policy Group and Human European Consultancy.


List of network experts

Executive committee

General co-ordinator
Marcel Zwamborn

Specialist co-ordinator gender equality law
Susanne Burri

Specialist co-ordinator non-discrimination law
Isabelle Chopin

Senior expert on racial or ethnic origin
Lilla Farkas

Senior expert on age
Mark Freedland

Senior expert on religion or belief
Isabelle Rorive

Senior expert on gender equality law
Linda Senden

Senior expert on sexual orientation
Krzysztof Smiszek

Senior expert on disability
Mark Bell

Senior expert on EU and human rights law
Christopher McCrudden

Senior expert on social security
Frans Pennings

Senior expert on EU law and with expertise on sex, gender identity and gender expression in relation to trans and intersex people
Christa Tobler

Go to the European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities This initiative is financed by the EC Programme Progress. But the views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.