The right to be free of discrimination
43. Human rights law provides a right to be free
of discrimination. Under ECHR Article 14, the prohibited discrimination
must relate to the enjoyment of other Convention rights, and be
'on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion,
political or other opinion, national or social origin, association
with a national minority, property, birth or other status.' Article
14 applies where discrimination relates to a matter falling within
the ambit of another Convention right. The only other Convention
right currently engaged by the Bill, if our analysis is correct,
is the right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions under P1/1.
In Adams the petitioners suggested that discriminating
against mounted hunters with dogs, but not other hunters, fell
within Article 14. Lord Nimmo Smith accepted this, but decided
that the discrimination was lawful because it had an objective
and rational justification, namely that there was evidence that
mounted foxhunting with dogs was less efficient and caused greater
suffering than other methods of killing foxes.
We are prepared to accept that it would be legitimate to argue
that the Bill does not engage Article 14 directly or indirectly.
The same applies to the free-standing right to be free of discrimination
under ICCPR Article 26.