Johnston v Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary: ECJ 15 May 1986

The principles of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights must be taken into consideration in community law. The principle of effective judicial control laid down in article 6 of Council Directive 76/207, a principle which underlies the constitutional traditions common to the member states and which is laid down in articles 6 and 13 of the Convention, does not allow a certificate issued by a national authority stating that the conditions for derogating from the principle of Equal Treatment for men and women for the purposes of protecting public safety are satisfied to be treated as conclusive evidence so as to exclude the exercise of any power of review by the courts. The provision contained in article 6 to the effect that all persons who consider themselves wronged by discrimination between men and women must have an effective judicial remedy may be relied upon by individuals as against a member state which has not ensured that it is fully implemented in its internal legal order. It is not permissible to read into the treaty, regardless of the specific cases envisaged by certain of its provisions, a general proviso covering any measure taken by a member state for reasons of public safety. Recognition of such a general proviso might impair the binding nature of community law and its uniform application. It follows that acts of sex discrimination done for reasons related to the protection of public safety must be examined in the light of the derogations from the principle of equal treatment of men and women. Since article 2 (2) of Directive 76/207 authorizes derogations from the right to equal treatment as regards access to employment and working conditions, it must be interpreted strictly and applied in accordance with the principle of proportionality. In deciding whether, by reason of the context in which the activities of a police officer are carried out, the sex of the officer constitutes a determining factor for that occupational activity, it is not excluded that a member state may take into consideration, subject to control by the national courts, requirements of public safety in order to restrict general policing duties, in an internal situation characterized by frequent assassinations, to men equipped with fire-arms. Since article 2 (3) of directive 76/207 authorizes derogations from the right to equal treatment as regards access to employment and working conditions, it must be interpreted strictly. The protection of women which it envisages does not include protection against the risks and dangers, such as those to which any armed police officer is exposed when performing his duties in a given situation, that do not specifically affect women as such. In all cases in which a directive has been properly implemented its effects reach individuals through the implementing measures adopted by the member states concerned. The member states ‘ obligation to achieve the result envisaged by a directive and their duty under article 5 of the treaty to take all appropriate measures, whether general or particular, to ensure the fulfilment of that obligation, is binding on all the authorities of the member states including, for matters within their jurisdiction, the courts. It follows that, in applying national law, and in particular the provisions of national legislation specifically introduced in order to implement a directive, national courts are required to interpret their national law in the light of the wording and the purpose of the directive in order to achieve the result referred to in the third paragraph of article 189 of the eec treaty. Individuals may claim the application, as against a state authority charged with the maintenance of public order and safety acting in its capacity of employer, of the principle of equal treatment for men and women laid down in article 2 (1) of directive 76/207 to the matters referred to in articles 3 (1) and 4 concerning the conditions for access to posts and to vocational training and advanced vocational training in order to have a derogation from that principle contained in national legislation set aside in so far as it exceeds the limits of the exceptions permitted by article 2 (2).


C-222/84, [1986] ECR 1651, [1987] QB 129, [1986] 3 WLR 1038, [1987] ICR 83, [1986] 3 All ER 135, R-222/84, [1986] EUECJ R-222/84




Council Directive 76/207 6

Cited by:

CitedRegina (Amicus etc) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Admn 26-Apr-2004
The claimants sought a declaration that part of the Regulations were invalid, and an infringement of their human rights. The Regulations sought to exempt church schools from an obligation not to discriminate against homosexual teachers.
Held: . .
CitedPickstone v Freemans Plc HL 30-Jun-1988
The claimant sought equal pay with other, male, warehouse operatives who were doing work of equal value but for more money. The Court of Appeal had held that since other men were also employed on the same terms both as to pay and work, her claim . .
CitedBowman v Fels (Bar Council and Others intervening) CA 8-Mar-2005
The parties had lived together in a house owned in the defendant’s name and in which she claimed an interest. The claimant’s solicitors notified NCIS that they thought the defendant had acted illegally in setting off against his VAT liability the . .
CitedBarracks v Coles and Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis CA 21-Jul-2006
The claimant sought to allege race discrimination and appealed refusal by the respondents to release required documents. She had been turned down for an appointment to the Trident task force, and sought disclosure of the reasons. The respondent said . .
CitedHome Office v Tariq SC 13-Jul-2011
(JUSTICE intervening) The claimant pursued Employment Tribunal proceedings against the Immigration Service when his security clearance was withdrawn. The Tribunal allowed the respondent to use a closed material procedure under which it was provided . .
CitedDoughty v Rolls Royce Plc CA 19-Dec-1991
The claimants sought to assert their rights under the Equal Treatment Directive, whoch had not been implemented. She had been made to retire at 60, but said that had she been a man she would not have had to retire until she reached 65 years old. She . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

European, Discrimination, Human Rights

Updated: 22 May 2022; Ref: scu.133964