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?

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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: 19 Feb 2019

Further information

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

Phone: 0808 800 0082

You can email using the contact form on the EASS website.

Also available through the website are BSL interpretation, web chat services and a contact us form.


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closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays

Alternatively, you can visit our advice and guidance page.