Everyone is equal before the law is the simple statement of Article 20 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. Indeed, this principle of equality is only the entrance to a cosmos of various related principles and sub-principles that can be found in Union law today. These principles influenced, inter alia, Member States’ freedom to adopt national measures and will continue to do. However, it is currently not easy to keep track of all the diverse concepts related to equality, unequal treatment, non-discrimination, comparable situations etc. enshrined in the Union’s written laws and the Court’s jurisprudence. Following the Union’s motto ‘United in diversity’ we will try to find a way through the different sources, aims and methods of the Union law’s principle of equality in order to start establishing a ‘theory of everything’ in terms of equality.


Juliane Kokott has been Advocate General at the Court of Justice of the European Union since 2003. She studied law at the Universities of Bonn and Geneva, and also holds law degrees from American University/Washington D. C. (LL.M., 1983), Heidelberg University (Doctor of Laws, 1985) and Harvard University (S.J.D., 1990). After receiving her Habilitation from the University of Heidelberg in 1992, she taught at the Universities of Augsburg, Heidelberg and Düsseldorf. From 2000 until her call to the Court of Justice, she was Director of the Institute for European Law, Public International Law and International Business Law at the University of St. Gallen.