Article 47 - Right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial
Key facts of the case:
The Equality Ombudsman (DO) demanded an airline, BRA, to pay discrimination compensation to a passenger who had undergone an extra security check. The company admitted paying the requested compensation but at the same time denied that the passenger had been subjected to discrimination. DO therefore requested the District Court to examine whether discrimination had taken place or establish that there was a right to compensation due to discrimination or that the passenger had been discriminated against.
The District Court obliged, referring to § 18, Chapter 42 in the Code of Judicial Procedure, the company to pay the agreed compensation but rejected DO's claims for a declaratory judgement. The Court of Appeal decided to reject DO’s appeal. DO appealed to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court requested an advanced ruling from the European Court of Justice on the issue if a national court, in cases where it is requested by the person subject to the alleged discrimination, must examine whether discrimination has taken place - and if so state that this has happened - regardless of whether the subject accused of discrimination has or has not certified that discrimination has taken place.
The judgment of the European Court of Justice states that paragraphs 7 and 15 in Directive 2000/43 /EC (EU Racial Directive) and Article 47 of the Charter on Fundamental Rights constitute an obstacle to Swedish legislation which means that a court cannot entertain a claim for declaratory judgement that discrimination has taken place, when the defendant agrees to pay the requested compensation without acknowledging that there has been any discrimination.
In the further submissions to the Supreme Court, BRA, which already paid the discrimination compensation, certified that discrimination had taken place. DO maintained that the certification made by BRA did not meet the standards and requested that the Supreme Court issued a declaratory judgment in this respect.
The Court also attached a special opinion (särskilt yttrande) (occasionally used by the Court when addressing issues of concern to the legislator) stating that the ruling of the European Court of Justice means that considerations must be made on how Swedish procedural law is to be adapted to the specified requirements for the right to examination and determination of whether discrimination has taken place. Such considerations should preferably be left to the legislator and not by the courts.
Key legal question raised by the Court:
Must a national court, in cases where it is requested by the person subject to the alleged discrimination, examine whether discrimination has taken place - and if so state that this has happened - regardless of whether the subject accused of discrimination has or has not certified that discrimination has taken place.
Outcome of the case:
The Supreme Court held that BRA’s certification met the requirements (a categorical and unreserved testimony) for a certification set by the European Court of Justice, that the company has discriminated against the passenger in the manner alleged. The court rejected DO's appeal.
11. The European Court of Justice has ruled on the interpretation of Articles 7 and 15 of the Directive (EU) 2000/43 of the European Parliament and the Council of 29 June 2000 on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin, compared with Article 47 of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. According to the European Court of Justice, the articles constitute an obstacle to national law which means that a court - which is to hear an action for damages due to an alleged discrimination prohibited by the Directive - cannot try a claim to establish that such discrimination has taken place, when the defendant agrees to pay the requested compensation without acknowledging that there has been any discrimination. (See the judgment of 15 April 2021, Braathens Regional Aviation, C 30/19, EU: C: 2021: 269.)
12. According to the European Court of Justice, it is for the national court, in ruling on disputes between individuals, to ensure, within the scope of its jurisdiction, the legal protection afforded to individuals under Article 47 of the Charter of Rights by refraining from practicing conflict of interest where necessary. provisions of national law.
11. EU-domstolen har uttalat sig om tolkningen av artiklarna 7 och 15 i rådets direktiv 2000/43/EG av den 29 juni 2000 om genomförandet av principen om likabehandling av personer oavsett deras ras eller etniska ursprung, jämförda med artikel 47 i Europeiska unionens stadga om de grundläggande rättigheterna. Enligt EU-domstolen utgör artiklarna hinder för en nationell lagstiftning som innebär att en domstol – som ska pröva en talan om ersättning på grund av en påstådd diskriminering som är förbjuden enligt direktivet – inte kan pröva ett yrkande om fastställelse av att sådan diskriminering har skett, när svaranden medger att betala den begärda ersättningen utan att för den skull vitsorda att det skett någon diskriminering. (Se dom av den 15 april 2021, Braathens Regional Aviation, C 30/19, EU:C:2021:269.)
12. Enligt EU-domstolen ankommer det på den nationella domstolen att, när den avgör en tvist mellan enskilda, inom ramen för sin behörighet säkerställa det rättsliga skydd som enskilda har enligt artikel 47 i rättighetsstadgan genom att vid behov avstå från att tillämpa däremot stridande bestämmelser i nationell lagstiftning.