NEWS

Burden of proof shifts

An important new factor in European and Greek legislation is the «reallocation of the burden of proof.» Until now, it was the victim who had to back up his accusations in detail. According to the new provision, the burden of proof lies equally with both sides. The plaintiff can initiate charges in principle, without being required to give precise details of the discrimination in question. Often it is extremely difficult to show that behind an apparently innocent measure, there is an intention to discriminate. If, however, incidents occur which lead to that conclusion, then the new provision on burden of proof could lead to a final conclusion. If, for example, a company fires a staff member who is the only one of a different racial or ethnic group in the firm, then he or she can claim in principle that he or she is the victim of discrimination. The new terms make pre-trial negotiations all the more important. The Citizens’ Advocate may provide its services free of charge, but the same does not apply to the lawyers who prepare the case for a court hearing, and discrimination usually involves financial differences. So it is important for a civil society to have agencies that can provide support in a court action. This is something which the consumer organizations such as EKPIZO and INKA have been doing for years.