591. Reasonable and objective justification.

Although a literal reading of Article 14 suggests that any difference in treatment amounts to unlawful discrimination1, the European Court of Human Rights has rejected this argument2 and held that the principle of equality of treatment is only violated if there is no 'reasonable and objective justification' for the difference in treatment3, and that the existence of such justification must be assessed in relation to the aim and effects of the measure under consideration, regard being had to the principles which normally prevail in democratic societies