ANTI-DISCRIMINATION AND ACCESSIBLITY ACT & EQUALITY AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION OMBUD AND TRIBUNAL
- Universal design in non-discrimination law
- Norwegian Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion
- Country of Implementation
- Northern Europe
- Start Year
- First published
“Very few countries have made universal design a legal concept in their anti-discrimination legislation, which means that universal design is an enforceable legal standard.” Berit Vegheim, Stop Diskrimineeringen, Norway
Norway’s Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act of 2008 is the country’s first disability-specific, nationwide non-discrimination act. It introduced legal safeguards against discrimination of people with disabilities in all sectors of society. It focuses on the built environment, transport and ICT, establishes that inaccessibility is a matter of discrimination, contains the obligation to use universal design and refers to sector legislation as well as specific regulations elaborating on the Act itself.
Only a few countries require the application of universal design and establish that inaccessibility is a matter of discrimination. In Europe, Norway is, along with Spain, one of those countries that actively promote both concepts and practice in universal design. In Norway universal design is an enforceable legal standard.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Anti-Discrimination and Accessibility Act (AAD) aims to promote equality and ensure equal opportunities and rights to social participation for all persons and to prevent discrimination on the basis of disability. It applies to all areas of society, and with regard to accessibility its main focus is on the built environment, transport and ICT. In each field, the AAD refers to sector legislation as well as specific regulations elaborating on the provisions in the AAD itself. The AAD includes a universal design obligation, which is a minimum requirement and has been introduced as a legal standard, whose content is determined when detailed requirements regarding accessibility to buildings, ICT, means of transport, etc. are specified. Universal design is defined in accordance with the original concept invented by the Centre for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. The breach of the obligation to universal design amounts to discrimination. The AAD contains a positive duty of public and private entities offering goods and services to the general public to promote universal design. In particular, it legally enshrines the obligation to provide universally designed information and communication technologies, without any reference to disproportionate burden.