Monday, 4 October 2010

Equality Law

On 1st October 2010 much of the Equality Act 2010 came into force.  It is a large Act - 218 sections and 28 schedules.  In addition, there are several statutory instruments fleshing out various aspects of the law.  Much of the "equality / anti-discrimination" legislation passed over the last 40 years is replaced.  The Government Equalities Office website is a valuable resource of information.  Further information is available here.

A number of important aspects of the Equality Act 2010 have not yet been implemented and remain under consideration.  These include positive discrimination in recruitment and promotion as well as age discrimination in services and public functions.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has also published Guidance and there is a Video Presentation.

Another important area is how the Act will affect charities.  Subject to a number of caveats, the Act gives charities an exemption so that they can restrict benefits to people who have a shared "protected characteristic" - (e.g. to provide benefits to old people).  The Charity Commission has issued some guidance in this area.

Dealing with persons appearing before courts and tribunals is a further aspect.  The Judicial Studies Board has issued - "Fairness in courts and tribunals: A summary of the Equal Treatment Bench Book".  This is essential reading for anyone involved in any capacity with courts and tribunals.

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