House of Lords portcullis
House of Lords
Session 2005 - 06
Internet Publications
Other Bills before Parliament

Equality Bill [HL]


Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

1

 

A

Bill

To

Make provision for the establishment of the Commission for Equality and

Human Rights; to dissolve the Equal Opportunities Commission, the

Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission; to

make provision about discrimination on grounds of religion or belief; to

impose duties relating to sex discrimination on persons performing public

functions; to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and for connected

purposes. 

Be it enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Part 1

The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

The Commission

1       

Establishment

There shall be a body corporate known as the Commission for Equality and

5

Human Rights.

2       

Constitution, &c.

Schedule 1 (constitution of the Commission, proceedings, money, &c.) shall

have effect.

3       

Fundamental duty

10

The Commission shall exercise its functions under this Part with a view to the

creation of a society in which—

(a)   

people’s ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or

discrimination,

 
HL Bill 254/1
 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

2

 

(b)   

there is respect for and protection of each individual’s human rights,

(c)   

there is respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,

(d)   

each individual has an equal opportunity to participate in society, and

(e)   

there is mutual respect between communities based on understanding

and valuing of diversity and on shared respect for equality and human

5

rights.

4       

Strategic plan

(1)   

The Commission shall prepare a plan showing—

(a)   

activities or classes of activity to be undertaken by the Commission in

pursuance of its functions under this Act,

10

(b)   

an expected timetable for each activity or class, and

(c)   

priorities for different activities or classes, or principles to be applied in

determining priorities.

(2)   

The Commission shall review the plan—

(a)   

at least once during the period of three years beginning with its

15

completion,

(b)   

at least once during each period of three years beginning with the

completion of a review, and

(c)   

at such other times as the Commission thinks appropriate.

(3)   

If the Commission thinks it appropriate as a result of a review, the Commission

20

shall revise the plan.

(4)   

The Commission shall publish the plan and each revision.

5       

Strategic plan: consultation

Before preparing or reviewing a plan in accordance with section 4 the

Commission shall—

25

(a)   

consult such persons having knowledge or experience relevant to the

Commission’s functions as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(b)   

consult such other persons as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(c)   

issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in

the Commission’s opinion to bring the invitation to the attention of as

30

large a class of persons who may to wish to make representations as is

reasonably practicable, and

(d)   

take account of any representations made.

6       

Disclosure

(1)   

A person who is or was a Commissioner, an Investigating Commissioner, an

35

employee of the Commission or a member of a committee established by the

Commission commits an offence if he discloses information to which this

section applies unless subsection (3) authorises the disclosure.

(2)   

This section applies to information acquired by the Commission—

(a)   

by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the

40

course of, an inquiry under section 17,

(b)   

by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the

course of, an investigation under section 22, or

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

3

 

(c)   

from a person with whom the Commission enters into, or considers

entering into, an agreement under section 25.

(3)   

This subsection authorises a disclosure made—

(a)   

for the purpose of the exercise of a function of the Commission under

any of sections 17, 22, 23, 26, 27 and 34,

5

(b)   

in a report of an inquiry or investigation published by the Commission,

(c)   

in pursuance of an order of a court or tribunal,

(d)   

with the consent of each person to whom the disclosed information

relates,

(e)   

in a manner that ensures that no person to whom the disclosed

10

information relates can be identified,

(f)   

for the purpose of civil or criminal proceedings to which the

Commission is party, or

(g)   

if the information was acquired by the Commission more than 70 years

before the date of the disclosure.

15

(4)   

A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable on summary

conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

7       

Scotland: human rights

(1)   

The Commission shall not take human rights action in relation to a matter if the

Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to enable a body to take action

20

of that kind in relation to that matter.

(2)   

In subsection (1) “human rights action” means action taken—

(a)   

in accordance with section 9(1), and

(b)   

under, by virtue of or in pursuance of—

(i)   

section 12(1) in so far as it relates to the Human Rights Act 1998

25

(c. 42),

(ii)   

section 12(2)(c) or (d),

(iii)   

section 13,

(iv)   

section 14,

(v)   

section 17,

30

(vi)   

section 18, or

(vii)   

section 32.

(3)   

Despite section 9(4), the Commission shall not, in the course of fulfilling a duty

under section 8, 10 or 11, consider the question whether a person’s human

rights have been contravened if the Scottish Parliament has legislative

35

competence to enable a body to consider that question.

(4)   

Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from taking action

with the consent (whether general or specific) of a body if—

(a)   

the body is established by Act of the Scottish Parliament, and

(b)   

the body’s principal duties relate to human rights and are similar to any

40

of the Commission’s duties under section 9.

(5)   

Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from relying on

section 14(1)(f) so as to act jointly or cooperate (but not assist) for a purpose

relating to human rights and connected with Scotland.

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

4

 

Duties

8       

Equality and diversity

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of equality and diversity,

(b)   

encourage good practice in relation to equality and diversity,

5

(c)   

promote equality of opportunity,

(d)   

promote awareness and understanding of rights under the equality

enactments,

(e)   

enforce the equality enactments,

(f)   

work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination, and

10

(g)   

work towards the elimination of unlawful harassment.

(2)   

In subsection (1)—

“diversity” means the fact that individuals are different,

“equality” means equality between individuals, and

“unlawful” is to be construed in accordance with section 36.

15

9       

Human rights

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of human rights,

(b)   

encourage good practice in relation to human rights,

(c)   

promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights,

20

and

(d)   

encourage public authorities to comply with section 6 of the Human

Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) (compliance with Convention rights).

(2)   

In this Part “human rights” means—

(a)   

the Convention rights within the meaning given by section 1 of the

25

Human Rights Act 1998, and

(b)   

other human rights.

(3)   

In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission

shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers

conferred by this Part in relation to the Convention rights.

30

(4)   

In fulfilling a duty under section 8, 10 or 11 the Commission shall take account

of any relevant human rights.

(5)   

A reference in this Part (including this section) to human rights does not

exclude any matter by reason only of its being a matter to which section 8, 10

or 11 relates.

35

10      

Disability

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of the fair treatment of

disabled persons,

(b)   

encourage good practice in the treatment of disabled persons,

40

(c)   

work towards the elimination of prejudice against, hatred of and

hostility towards disabled persons, and

 
 

Equality Bill [HL]
Part 1 — The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

5

 

(d)   

work towards the elimination of the involuntary isolation of disabled

persons.

(2)   

In this Part “disabled person” means a person who—

(a)   

is a disabled person within the meaning of the Disability

Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50), or

5

(b)   

has been a disabled person within that meaning (whether or not at a

time when that Act had effect).

(3)   

This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 8.

11      

Communities

(1)   

The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part—

10

(a)   

promote understanding of the importance of good relations—

(i)   

between different communities, and

(ii)   

between communities and others,

(b)   

encourage good practice in relation to relations—

(i)   

between different communities, and

15

(ii)   

between communities and others,

(c)   

work towards the elimination of prejudice against, hatred of and

hostility towards communities, and

(d)   

work towards the elimination of the involuntary isolation of

communities.

20

(2)   

In this Part “community” means a group or class of persons (irrespective of

whether they regard themselves as a community) who share a common

attribute in respect of any of the following matters—

(a)   

age,

(b)   

gender,

25

(c)   

proposed, commenced or completed reassignment of gender (within

the meaning given by section 82(1) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975

(c. 65)),

(d)   

race,

(e)   

religion or belief, and

30

(f)   

sexual orientation.

(3)   

For the purposes of this Part a reference to a community (as defined in

subsection (2)) includes a reference to a sub-group or sub-class, within a

community, of persons who share a common attribute (in addition to the

attribute by reference to which the community is defined) in respect of any of

35

the matters specified in subsection (2)(a) to (f).

(4)   

In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission

shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers

conferred by this Part in relation to communities defined by reference to race,

religion or belief.

40

(5)   

The Secretary of State may by order amend the list in subsection (2) so as to—

(a)   

add an entry, or

(b)   

vary an entry.

(6)   

This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 8.

 
 

 
previous section contents continue
 
House of Lords home page Houses of Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries

© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Revised 19 May 2005