Legal advice: Commission for Equality and Human Rights

Related tags Human rights London solicitors joelson Discrimination

By Rebecca Caws of's team of legal experts from London solicitors Joelson Wilson.In a recently published white paper (Fairness for...

By Rebecca Caws of's team of legal experts from London solicitors Joelson Wilson.

In a recently published white paper (Fairness for All), the government lays the foundations for establishing an executive non-departmental public body which shall be called the Commission for Equality and Human Rights. The new commission will replace the main organisations which tackle discrimination and promote equality, ie the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission.

It will create what the current chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission describes as a "one-stop-shop for equality and human rights issues". The new commission should be operational by the end of 2006.

Its proposed powers will be:

  • Promoting awareness of good practice, tackling discrimination in the areas of sexual orientation, religion or belief and age
  • Publishing codes of practice on complying with areas of discrimination law
  • Conducting named investigations into unlawful acts of discrimination or harassment, based upon a "reasonable suspicion"
  • Promoting human rights, including powers to undertake "general enquiries".

The commission will be able to issue a "non-discrimination notice" on a named person, which would require any discrimination to stop, if it concludes that discrimination or harassment has taken place. The commission will also be able to apply to the courts for an injunction where discrimination is persistent.

The new commission, though welcomed, does not bring together equality legislation under one single equality statue, as many had hoped.

However one of the main perceived benefits is that it will function across Great Britain and will develop a regional, local and community-level presence.

You can find more information at the Equal Opportunities website at or from the Commission for Racial Equality at

Related topics Legislation

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