Court ruling in legal challenge to the BNP's constitution

Commission comment on latest court ruling in its legal challenge to the BNP's constitution

28 January 2010

The Equality and Human Rights Commission welcomed today’s court ruling, giving the BNP a final chance to amend its constitution so that it does not contravene discrimination legislation.

John Wadham, Group Director Legal for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said:

“While granting an adjournment, the judge ruled that BNP leader Nick Griffin had been less than upfront and lacking in detail as to why he had been unable to carry out undertakings given previously to the court. We are pleased that the court awarded costs against the BNP to ensure Mr Griffin takes his legal undertakings more seriously from now on.

“The judge also accepted 'powerful submissions' from the Commission that the BNP's proposed new constitution is likely to remain unlawful. We will be back in court in March where we hope to conclude this matter by ensuring that whatever constitution the BNP adopts does not break discrimination laws.”

Ends

For more press information contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission media office on 020 3117 0255, out of hours 07767 272 818.

For general enquiries please contact the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s national helpline: England 0845 604 6610 / Scotland 0845 604 5510 / Wales 0845 604 8810

Notes to Editors

The Commission issued county court proceedings (under sections 24 and 25(5) of the Equality Act) against the BNP in respect of its constitution and membership criteria in September. It appear to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regards as particular “ethnic groups” and those whose skin colour is white. This exclusion is contrary to the Race Relations Act. 

The Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006, which took over the responsibilities of Commission for Racial Equality, Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.  It is the independent advocate for equality and human rights in Britain.  It aims to reduce inequality, eliminate discrimination, strengthen good relations between people, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation or transgender status, and encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act.  It also gives advice and guidance to businesses, the voluntary and public sectors, and to individuals.