Equality Commission in Scotland appoints new panel of legal counsel as it launches future strategic litigation policy

Cyhoeddwyd: 04 Mar 2015

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has today announced the appointment of new legal counsel to the panel it calls on for advice and representation. This comes as it launches a revised strategic litigation policy, listing the factors to be considered when using its statutory powers.

A total of 81 barristers, advocates and solicitor advocates have been appointed across Great Britain, 18 of whom join the Scottish panel.

They will support the Commission’s advisory, regulatory and enforcement work across the equality and human rights spheres as it implements its litigation policy.

The policy was shaped by the responses received to a public consultation held to ensure the Commission was using its resources in the most effective way.

In total there were 212 respondents. The majority were from advice centres, law firms, service providers, the voluntary sector or non-governmental organisations. 

Some of the relevant considerations in deciding whether the Commission should engage in litigation include whether and to what extent the issue has the potential to help prevent a breach of human rights law or of the Equality Act 2010 by setting a precedent or by raising public interest concerns.

Other factors include the chances of a case succeeding.  The Commission will not normally support cases where the prospects of this are less than 50%.  The Commission will also consider whether litigation is the most appropriate means to address the issue.

The Commission’s Head of Legal in Scotland, Lynn Welsh said:

The Commission promotes and enforces the laws that protect everyone’s rights to fairness, dignity and respect and we are very much looking forward to working with our new panel of legal counsel to that end. The panel was appointed as a result of a robust, transparent and highly competitive process, and will provide a key resource of expertise in equality and human rights law. This is an important time for us as we start to implement our revised strategic litigation policy. We are very grateful to all of the respondents whose input during the consultation process was invaluable.

Ends

For more press information contact the Commission’s Scottish media office on 0141 228 5964 or out of hours on 07846889425.

Notes to editors

  • Panel of counsel
  • Strategic litigation policy
  • Litigation strategy consultation report
  • The Equality and Human Rights Commission is a statutory body established under the Equality Act 2006. It operates as an independent body to protect and promote equality and human rights in Great Britain.  It aims to encourage equality and diversity, eliminate unlawful discrimination, and promote and protect human rights.  The Commission enforces equality legislation on age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. It encourages compliance with the Human Rights Act 1998 and is accredited by the UN as an ‘A status’ National Human Rights Institution.   

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