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Czech Constitutional Court says verdict in housing discrimination lawsuit must be reviewed

29.8.2015 2:30
A discriminatory ad for a rental apartment in the Czech Republic. The text reads
A discriminatory ad for a rental apartment in the Czech Republic. The text reads "NO ROMA. !!!" (Archive of Romea.cz)

The Czech Constitutional Court instructed the High Court in Prague on 14 August to review a lawsuit filed by a Romani couple against the town of Kladno and the Czech state over alleged discrimination in the allocation of housing. Originally the Regional Court in Prague awarded the plaintiffs an apology and CZK 40 000 (EUR 1 500) from Kladno, especially because the property owner had never addressed the poor state of the couple's apartment.

The Regional Court rejected the rest of the lawsuit and the High Court then upheld that verdict. The lower courts rejected the couple's claim that they had been intentionally discriminated against in a planned manner because they are Romani.  

According to the Constitutional Court justices, however, the lower court verdict lacks a thorough justification. Court rapporteur Jaroslav Fenyk said the Regional Court's verdict contradicts itself.

The High Court should, according to the Constitutional Court judgment, better explain the kind of discriminatory and segregatory behavior that the Romani people allege they were subjected to and describe whether a broader group of people was also subjected to the same behavior. The judiciary should also review any indirect discrimination which may not have been a direct result of legal regulations, but may have manifested with disproportionate effect during the application of such regulations.  

In their suit for protection of personality, the Romani plaintiffs also asked that Kladno change its rules for assigning apartments and offer the Romani couple housing not located in a socially excluded locality. The result of the lawsuit, according to Fenyk, is still an open question, as the Constitutional Court's finding was essentially a procedural matter. 

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Tags:  

Housing, human rights, local authority, Racism



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