Claims brought in the county courts and sheriff court

Advice and Guidance

Who is this page for?

  • Public sector

Which countries is it relevant to?

    • England


    • |
    • Scotland


    • |
    • Wales


You can find more information about procedures in the county court at and about procedures in the sheriff court at

Anyone who believes that you have discriminated against, harassed or victimised them can make a claim to a county or sheriff court. In England and Wales a person who does not have mental capacity, or who is under 18 will have to make a claim through a ‘litigation friend’ who is an adult appointed to conduct the claim on their behalf (often, but not always, their parent).   

A claim must normally be started (and, in Scotland, served on the institution) within six months of the alleged discrimination. Where there has been a continuing process of discrimination taking place over a period of time, the six months begins at the date of the last discriminatory act. Courts have the discretion to consider a claim brought outside the six-month period if they consider that it is fair to do so.

A county or sheriff court can:

  • Declare that you have unlawfully discriminated against, harassed or victimised the person making the claim, or declare that no unlawful discrimination, harassment or victimisation has taken place.  
  • Impose an injunction (in England and Wales) or specific implement or interdict (in Scotland) requiring you to do something (such as admit the person as a student) or to prevent you from repeating any discriminatory act in the future.
  • Order you to pay compensation including compensation for injury to feelings.
  • Order you to pay interest on any compensation.
  • Order either party to pay costs. 

Last updated: 08 May 2017

Further Information

If you think you might have been treated unfairly and want further advice, you can contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service

Freephone 0808 800 0082

Textphone 0808 800 0084

Or write to them at


Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.