The tensions between equality and inequality as principles of justice and distribution as well as between general and individual case justice are among the basic experiences of any normative order. These tensions have heightened at various points in the history of law – as have the ever-new attempts to resolve them through institutional arrangements and special protection regimes. Our continental European legal system is based on the principle of equality. However, there is today a growing concern about how this equality-based system can respond to the increasing demands to take particular individual or collective circumstances into account to a greater extent. These concerns are raised in the debate on cultural diversity, but also in the struggle to compensate for disadvantages resulting from economic or social differences. In some cases, there are demands for specific, concrete changes in substantive law or procedural law. However, there are often doubts as to whether and for how long our equality-based legal system will be able to meet these challenges without fundamentally changing its structure.
However, this only describes a general constellation. The social dimensions in which the tension between equality and inequality emerged and the legal solutions or attempts at solutions it produced vary from country to country. In the workshop and publication project "Law and Diversity – European and Latin American Experiences from a Legal Historical Perspective", contributions from various European and Latin American countries are intended to illustrate this diversity and at the same time facilitate a comparison.