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

17

 

30      

Legal assistance

(1)   

The Commission may assist an individual who is or may become party to legal

proceedings if—

(a)   

the proceedings relate or may relate (wholly or partly) to a provision of

the equality enactments, and

5

(b)   

the individual alleges that he has been the victim of behaviour contrary

to a provision of the equality enactments.

(2)   

The Commission may assist an individual who is or may become party to legal

proceedings if and in so far as the proceedings concern or may concern the

question whether it is unreasonable for a landlord to withhold consent to the

10

making of an improvement to a dwelling where the improvement would be

likely to facilitate the enjoyment of the premises by the tenant or another lawful

occupier having regard to a disability.

(3)   

In giving assistance under this section the Commission may provide or arrange

for the provision of—

15

(a)   

legal advice;

(b)   

legal representation;

(c)   

facilities for the settlement of a dispute;

(d)   

any other form of assistance.

(4)   

Assistance may not be given under subsection (1) in relation to alleged

20

behaviour contrary to a provision of Part V of the Disability Discrimination Act

1995 (c. 50) (public transport).

(5)   

Where proceedings relate or may relate partly to a provision of the equality

enactments and partly to other matters—

(a)   

assistance may be given under subsection (1) in respect of any aspect of

25

the proceedings while any provision of the equality enactments

continues to be in issue, but

(b)   

if there ceases to be any provision of the equality enactments in issue,

assistance may not be continued under subsection (1) in respect of the

proceedings (except in so far as it is permitted by virtue of subsection

30

(6) or (7)).

(6)   

The Lord Chancellor may by order disapply subsection (5)(b), and enable the

Commission to give assistance under subsection (1), in respect of legal

proceedings which—

(a)   

when instituted, relied both on a provision of the equality enactments

35

and on section 7(1) of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) (proceedings

in respect of action by public authority incompatible with Convention

rights), and

(b)   

have ceased to rely on the provision of the equality enactments.

(7)   

The Secretary of State may by order enable the Commission to give assistance

40

under this section in respect of legal proceedings in the course of which an

individual who is or has been a disabled person relies or proposes to rely on a

matter relating to his disability; but an order under this subsection may not

permit assistance in relation to alleged behaviour contrary to a provision of

Part V of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

45

(8)   

An order under subsection (6) or (7) may make provision generally or only in

relation to proceedings of a specified kind or description (which in the case of

 
 

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

18

 

an order under subsection (6) may, in particular, refer to specified provisions

of the equality enactments) or in relation to specified circumstances.

(9)   

This section is without prejudice to the effect of any restriction imposed, in

respect of representation—

(a)   

by virtue of an enactment (including an enactment in or under an Act

5

of the Scottish Parliament), or

(b)   

in accordance with the practice of a court.

31      

Legal assistance: costs

(1)   

This section applies where—

(a)   

the Commission has assisted an individual under section 30 in relation

10

to proceedings, and

(b)   

the individual becomes entitled to some or all of his costs in the

proceedings (whether by virtue of an award or by virtue of an

agreement).

(2)   

The Commission’s expenses in providing the assistance—

15

(a)   

shall be charged on sums paid to the individual by way of costs, and

(b)   

may be enforced as a debt due to the Commission.

(3)   

A requirement to pay money to the Commission under subsection (2) ranks—

(a)   

in England and Wales, after a requirement imposed by virtue of section

11(4)(f) of the Access to Justice Act 1999 (c. 22) (recovery of costs in

20

funded cases), and

(b)   

in Scotland, after any sum of money payable to the Scottish Legal Aid

Board under section 17(2A) of the Legal Aid (Scotland) Act 1986 (c.47)

(recovery of expenses in favour of legally assisted person).

(4)   

For the purposes of subsection (2) the Commission’s expenses shall be

25

calculated in accordance with such provision (if any) as the Secretary of State

makes for the purpose by regulations; and regulations may, in particular,

provide for the apportionment of expenditure incurred by the Commission—

(a)   

partly for one purpose and partly for another, or

(b)   

for general purposes.

30

(5)   

In the application of this section to Scotland a reference to costs shall be taken

as a reference to expenses.

32      

Judicial review and other legal proceedings

(1)   

The Commission shall have capacity to institute or intervene in legal

proceedings, whether for judicial review or otherwise, if it appears to the

35

Commission that the proceedings are relevant to a matter in connection with

which the Commission has a function.

(2)   

The Commission shall be taken to have title and interest in relation to the

subject matter of any legal proceedings in Scotland which it has capacity to

institute, or in which it has capacity to intervene, by virtue of subsection (1).

40

(3)   

Subsections (1) and (2)—

(a)   

do not create a cause of action,

 
 

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

19

 

(b)   

are subject to any limitation or restriction imposed by virtue of an

enactment (including an enactment in or under an Act of the Scottish

Parliament) or in accordance with the practice of a court, and

(c)   

in particular, are without prejudice to the effect of any restriction in

section 7 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42).

5

33      

Public sector duties: assessment

(1)   

The Commission may assess the extent to which or the manner in which a

person has complied with a duty under or by virtue of—

(a)   

section 76A, 76B or 76C of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65)

(public authorities duty to eliminate discrimination, &c.),

10

(b)   

section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74) (public authorities duty

to eliminate discrimination, &c.), or

(c)   

section 49A or 49D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50)

(public authorities duty to eliminate discrimination, &c.).

(2)   

The Commission shall assess a matter specified in subsection (1) if directed to

15

do so by the Secretary of State.

(3)   

Schedule 2 makes supplemental provision about assessments.

(4)   

This section is without prejudice to the generality of sections 17 and 22.

34      

Public sector duties: compliance notice

(1)   

This section applies where the Commission thinks that a person has failed to

20

comply with a duty under or by virtue of —

(a)   

section 76A, 76B or 76C of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (public

authorities duty to eliminate discrimination, &c.),

(b)   

section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (public authorities duty to

eliminate discrimination, &c.), or

25

(c)   

section 49A or 49D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (public

authorities duty to eliminate discrimination, &c.).

(2)   

The Commission may give the person a notice requiring him—

(a)   

to comply with the duty, and

(b)   

to give the Commission, within the period of 28 days beginning with

30

the date on which he receives the notice, written information of steps

taken for the purpose of complying with the duty.

(3)   

A notice under this section may require a person to give the Commission

information required by the Commission for the purposes of assessing

compliance with the duty; in which case the notice shall specify—

35

(a)   

the period within which the information is to be given (which shall

begin with the date on which the notice is received and shall not exceed

three months), and

(b)   

the manner and form in which the information is to be given.

(4)   

A person who receives a notice under this section shall comply with it.

40

(5)   

But a notice under this section shall not oblige a person to give information that

he could not be compelled to give in proceedings before the High Court or the

Court of Session.

 
 

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

20

 

(6)   

If the Commission thinks that a person, to whom a notice under this section has

been given, has failed to comply with a requirement of the notice, the

Commission may apply to a county court (in England and Wales) or to the

sheriff (in Scotland) for an order requiring the person to comply.

Interpretation

5

35      

Equality and human rights enactments

(1)   

In this Part “the equality enactments” means—

(a)   

the Equal Pay Act 1970 (c. 41),

(b)   

the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65),

(c)   

the Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74),

10

(d)   

the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50),

(e)   

Part 2 of this Act,

(f)   

the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 (S.I.

2003/1661), and

(g)   

the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (S.I.

15

2003/1660).

(2)   

In this Part “the equality and human rights enactments” means the equality

enactments and the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42).

(3)   

The Secretary of State may by order amend the list in subsection (1) so as to—

(a)   

add an entry,

20

(b)   

remove an entry, or

(c)   

vary an entry.

36      

Unlawful

(1)   

In this Part “unlawful” means contrary to a provision of the equality

enactments.

25

(2)   

But action is not unlawful for the purposes of this Part by reason only of the

fact that it contravenes a duty under or by virtue of—

(a)   

section 76A, 76B or 76C of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (public

authorities duty to eliminate discrimination, &c.),

(b)   

section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (public authorities duty to

30

eliminate discrimination, &c.), or

(c)   

any of the following provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act

1995

(i)   

Part 5 (public transport),

(ii)   

sections 49A and 49D (public authorities), and

35

(iii)   

section 49G (consent to tenant’s improvements).

37      

General

In this Part—

“act” includes deliberate omission,

“communities” has the meaning given by section 11,

40

“the Commission” means the Commission for Equality and Human

Rights,

 
 

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

21

 

“disabled person” has the meaning given by section 10,

“human rights” has the meaning given by section 9,

“race” includes colour, nationality, ethnic origin and national origin,

“religion or belief” has the same meaning as in Part 2 (as defined by

section 45), and

5

“sexual orientation” means an individual’s sexual orientation towards—

(a)   

persons of the same sex as him or her,

(b)   

persons of the opposite sex, or

(c)   

both.

Dissolution of Existing Commissions

10

38      

Dissolution

(1)   

The Secretary of State may by order provide for—

(a)   

any of the former Commissions to cease to exist, or

(b)   

the removal from any of the former Commissions of a specified

function.

15

(2)   

In this Part “the former Commissions” means—

(a)   

the Equal Opportunities Commission,

(b)   

the Commission for Racial Equality, and

(c)   

the Disability Rights Commission.

(3)   

The Secretary of State shall by exercising the power under subsection (1)

20

ensure that each of the former Commissions ceases to exist not later than the

end of 31st March 2009.

39      

Transfer of property, &c.

(1)   

An order under section 38(1) in respect of any of the former Commissions may

provide for the transfer to the Commission for Equality and Human Rights of

25

specified property, rights and liabilities of the former Commission.

(2)   

The Secretary of State may give a former Commission any direction that the

Secretary of State thinks appropriate in connection with the dissolution of the

former Commission or the establishment of the Commission for Equality and

Human Rights; and a direction may, in particular, require the former

30

Commission—

(a)   

to provide information in connection with property, rights or liabilities;

(b)   

to provide information in connection with the exercise of functions;

(c)   

to transfer specified property, rights and liabilities to a specified

person;

35

(d)   

to make property, staff or facilities available, on such terms or

conditions as may be specified in the direction, to the Commission for

Equality and Human Rights;

(e)   

not to take action of a specified kind or in specified circumstances.

(3)   

The Secretary of State may direct a former Commission to prepare a scheme for

40

the transfer of specified property, rights and liabilities to—

(a)   

the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, or

(b)   

another person specified in the direction.

 
 

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

22

 

(4)   

If the Secretary of State gives a direction under subsection (3)—

(a)   

the former Commission shall prepare a scheme in accordance with the

direction, having consulted either the Commission for Equality and

Human Rights or the person specified under subsection (3)(b), and

(b)   

the scheme shall have effect—

5

(i)   

when approved by the Secretary of State, and

(ii)   

subject to any modifications made by him, having consulted the

former Commission and either the Commission for Equality

and Human Rights or the person specified under subsection

(3)(b).

10

(5)   

Where a former Commission ceases to exist by virtue of section 38(1)(a), its

property, rights and liabilities shall by virtue of this subsection vest in the

Commission for Equality and Human Rights (and this subsection operates in

addition to any transfer provided for by virtue of subsection (1) above).

(6)   

An order, direction or scheme under or by virtue of this section may, in

15

particular—

(a)   

specify property, rights or liabilities;

(b)   

specify a class or description of property, rights or liabilities;

(c)   

specify property, rights or liabilities to a specified extent.

40      

Transfer of property: supplemental

20

(1)   

A direction under section 39

(a)   

shall be in writing,

(b)   

may be given only following consultation with the former Commission

to which the direction relates and, where the Secretary of State thinks it

appropriate, the Commission for Equality and Human Rights, and

25

(c)   

may be varied or revoked by a further direction.

(2)   

In so far as is appropriate as a consequence of a transfer effected by or by virtue

of section 39

(a)   

anything done by or in relation to any of the former Commissions

which has effect immediately before the transfer shall continue to have

30

effect as if done by or in relation to the Commission for Equality and

Human Rights, and

(b)   

anything (including any legal proceedings) which immediately before

the transfer is in the process of being done by or in relation to any of the

former Commissions may be continued by or in relation to the

35

Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

(3)   

In so far as is appropriate in consequence of a transfer effected by or by virtue

of section 39 a reference to any of the former Commissions in an agreement,

instrument or other document shall be treated as a reference to the

Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

40

(4)   

Section 39, and a direction, scheme or order under or by virtue of that section,

shall operate in relation to property, rights or liabilities—

(a)   

whether or not they would otherwise be capable of being transferred,

(b)   

without any instrument or other formality being required, and

(c)   

irrespective of any requirement for consent that would otherwise

45

apply.

 
 

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

23

 

(5)   

A scheme or order under or by virtue of section 39 which relates to rights or

liabilities under a contract of employment—

(a)   

must provide for the application of the Transfer of Undertakings

(Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (S.I. 1981/1794), and

(b)   

must provide that for any purpose relating to an employee of a former

5

commission who becomes an employee of the Commission for Equality

and Human Rights by virtue of the scheme or order—

(i)   

a period of employment with the former commission shall be

treated as a period of employment with the Commission for

Equality and Human Rights, and

10

(ii)   

the transfer to that Commission shall not be treated as a break

in service.

Miscellaneous

41      

Orders and regulations

(1)   

An order of a Minister of the Crown under this Part and regulations under this

15

Part shall be made by statutory instrument.

(2)   

An order of a Minister of the Crown under this Part and regulations under this

Part—

(a)   

may make provision generally or only for specified purposes,

(b)   

may make different provision for different purposes, and

20

(c)   

may include transitional, incidental or consequential provision.

(3)   

An order or regulations under any of the following provisions shall be subject

to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament—

(a)   

section 30,

(b)   

section 31,

25

(c)   

section 38, and

(d)   

Part 5 of Schedule 1.

(4)   

An order under section 11(5), 16(5), 29(9) or 35(3)—

(a)   

may, in particular, make consequential amendment of an enactment

(including this Act and including an enactment in or under an Act of

30

the Scottish Parliament), and

(b)   

may not be made unless a draft has been laid before and approved by

resolution of each House of Parliament.

(5)   

An incidental provision included in an order or regulations by virtue of

subsection (2)(c) may, in particular, impose a requirement for consent to action

35

under or by virtue of the order or regulations.

42      

Consequential amendments

Schedule 3 (consequential amendments) shall have effect.

43      

Transitional: the Commission

(1)   

If an order under section 91 provides for sections 1 to 3 and Schedule 1 to come

40

into force at a time before any of sections 8 to 34 come into force—

 
 

 
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