Equality Complaints Committee
The Equality Complaints Committee operates on the basis of Chapter III of the Act on the Administration of Matters Concerning Equality, No. 151/2020, and the Regulation on the Work of the Equality Complaints Committee, No. 408/2021. The Complaints Committee operates as an independent and autonomous entity and its rulings cannot be appealed to a higher authority. The Complaints Committee’s rulings are binding for the parties to the case, who may, however, refer a ruling by the Committee to the courts
What issues can be referred to the Equality Complaints Committee?
Individuals, enterprises, institutions and non-governmental organisations who consider that their rights under provisions of Act No. 150/2020, on Equal Status and Equal Rights Irrespective of Gender; Act No. 85/2018, on Equal Treatment Regardless of Race and Ethnic Origin; and Act No. 86/2018, on Equal Treatment in the Labour Market, have been violated, can seek the assistance of the Equality Complaints Committee, cf. Act No. 151/2020, on the Administration of Matters Concerning Equality.
Time limit for lodging a complaint
Complaints must be received by the Committee in writing no later than six months after knowledge of the alleged violation became available, after the events or situation considered a violation of the relevant law concluded or after the party concerned became aware of the alleged violation. If grounds for the complaint are sought in provisions of the Public Administration Act, the time limit is calculated from the time such grounds are established. The Equality Complaints Committee can, in exceptional circumstances, decide to accept a case for review even if the above-mentioned deadline has passed, although never if more than one year has elapsed.
The Committee’s procedure
Presentation of complaints to the Equality Complaints Committee shall as a rule be based on written submissions; however, the Committee may summon parties or their representatives to meet with it, should it see cause to do so. In other respects, the provisions of the Public Administration Act and specific rules which the Minister may set after receiving the opinion of the Equality Complaints Committee, shall apply to procedure before the Equality Complaints Committee.
The application form facilitates the preparation of cases for the Committee and ensures that the necessary information is available at the beginning of the procedure. The issue in dispute must be stated clearly and concisely, together with the party's claim and grounds for this. Use of the form is not mandatory.
Information and documentation which can affect the resolution of the case should be attached.
The Equality Complaints Committee may require further documentation from the parties if it is of the opinion that the case is not sufficiently clarified.
The Committee's location:
The Prime Minister's Office
Department of Equality
Email: [email protected]
Composition of the Committee
According to Act No.151/2020, on the Administration of Matters Concerning Equality, the Minister appoints, following nomination by the Supreme Court, three representatives to the Equality Complaints Committee for a three-year term. They shall all hold a professional legal qualification or master’s degree in law and at least two of them, including the chairperson, shall have specialist knowledge in the field of equality. At least one of them shall have specialist knowledge in the area of gender equality and one of equality in a broader sense. The chairperson and deputy chairperson, who shall also be a full member, shall satisfy the eligibility requirements for a District Court judge. An equal number of alternates shall be appointed in the same manner. The Committee may summon experts to provide advice and assistance if it feels in need of such.
- Kristín Benediktsdóttir, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, University of Iceland, Chairman
- Andri Árnason, attorney, Vice chairman
- Berglind Bára Sigurjónsdóttir, Office Director in the Ministry of Justice (on leave)
- Sigurður Örn Hilmarsson, attorney
- Ari Karlsson, attorney
- Anna Tryggvadóttir, lawyer in the Ministry of Social Affairs (acting member while Berglind Bára is on leave)
Secretary of Committee is Kristín Þóra Harðardóttir, lawyer in the Department of Equality, Prime Minister’s Office.