We have a range of guidance to help public authorities in Northern Ireland understand how the Human Rights Act 1998 and the European Convention on Human Rights affects their work.

Guidance available 

Information in the guide is divided into three parts

Part 1 - is the introductory and background section. You will need to read this first because it lays out the foundation for understanding and getting the most out of the guide.

Part 2 - sets out the Articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (and its Protocols) which have been made part of our law by the Human Rights Act.

Part 3 - contains a series of supporting documentation including a Human Rights Impact Assessment proforma, some questions and answers, useful contacts and a glossary.

The European Convention on Human Rights poster summarises the articles and protocols.

Section 75

The Executive Office, (formerlyOFMDFM) is responsible for the promotion of equality of opportunity (arising from Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998) – within the Northern Ireland Civil Service.  This involves:

  • providing advice and support to departmental policy colleagues in taking their statutory duties into account in developing policies and procedures
  • providing advice, support and challenge to departmental equality units with regard to exercising their statutory duties
  • acting as a central point of contact for advice and guidance between the Northern Ireland departments and the Equality Commission
  • monitoring the implementation of the Departmental Equality Scheme and reporting on progress to the director and departmental board on a quarterly basis
  • co-ordinating the department’s Annual Report on Progress to the Equality Commission

Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998

Section 75 and Schedule 9 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 came into force on 1 January 2000 and placed a statutory obligation on public authorities in carrying out their various functions relating to Northern Ireland, to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity:

  • between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation
  • between men and women generally
  • between persons with a disability and persons without
  • between persons with dependants and persons without

In addition, without prejudice to this obligation, public authorities are also required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, and racial group.

The statutory obligations are implemented through Equality Schemes, approved by the Equality Commission, and by screening and carrying out Equality Impact Assessments (EQIAs) on policies.

See The Executive Office Equality Scheme.

Further detailed information on these processes can be found on the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland website.

Contact us

If you have any questions regarding Section 75 you can contact The Executive Office via the Equality and Human Rights Unit.

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