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‘Brexit’ and Anti-Discrimination Law in Northern Ireland

Clare Rice

Northern Ireland, a devolved region within the United Kingdom, is faced with a unique set of challenges in light of the decision that has been taken to leave the European Union. From a legal perspective, Northern Ireland differs to elsewhere in the UK with regard to equality law, an outworking of the deep-seated, ethno-national divisions which dominate the region. The complex legal framework present has been heavily inspired by EU law in this area, not least in the years following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.This paper will begin by outlining the ways in which anti-discrimination law in Northern Ireland has been inspired by European Union law. From this basis, it will then consider what the potential impacts of ‘Brexit’ might be for anti-discrimination law and what this could mean in reality for minority groups in the region. Finally, the paper will explore the ways in which the presence of consociationalism may present both opportunities and challenges in developing law in this area post-Brexit.

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