Strategic human rights and equality litigation

If you wish to contact the Commission in Scotland about a case or issue that you think we might be interested in, and you are a lawyer or have some other professional interest in the matter, please complete this Request for Commission Assistance or Intervention form and email it to the following address: legalrequestscotland@equalityhumanrights.com .

The Commission is interested in hearing from solicitors and advocates who are bringing cases that are of interest to the Commission or in which we might intervene.  We look for policies or practices which lead to widespread or serious breaches of equality laws or the Human Rights Act.

• Strategic Casework

Equality legal cases which meet our strategic priorities can be referred to our legal team, either for the Commission to take them in-house or for solicitors to request legal funding.  We will assess cases in accordance with our overall strategic priorities and our casework and litigation strategy.

Where we are not able to assist, we will use the information to inform our future priorities for litigation and enforcement work.  For instance, if we receive several requests on related issues, we may consider the option of carrying out an inquiry into a particular problem or in a particular sector.

• Human Rights Legal Powers

Due to statutory constraints, the Commission cannot currently fund human rights cases brought by others which do not also raise issues under the equality enactments.  However, we can take judicial review proceedings, intervene in human rights proceedings and hold inquiries into any issue of human rights in agreement with the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

  • Judicial Review

The Commission may bring a judicial review claim in its own name on any grounds where the subject matter of the claim relates to a statutory function of the Commission (ie the equality and human rights duties set out in the Equality Act 2006). We share our Human Rights remit with the Scottish Human Rights Commission and work closely with them.

Generally speaking, we are most likely to consider bringing proceedings in our name in certain situations, for instance:

  • Where a change in the law is proposed (or rather when it has just come into force) where an early challenge could prevent actual violations
  • Where the subject matter of the case is one where the Commission is best placed due to its history, statutory duties or particular expertise to bring the claim
  • Where there are a wide range of victims whose experience can be used to illustrate a problem but where a claim brought by any one of them would not tell the whole story
  • Where the actual or potential victims do not have access to lawyers, or cannot fund a claim themselves.

Help for advisors only.

You can contact the Commission for help with a discrimination or human rights issues which you are dealing with.  Our legal staff can provide you with advise and support. We can also consider whether the case might fall within our legal strategy. We can tell you what kind of cases we are looking for.  Contact us at:

Email: advisorsupport@equalityhumanrights.com

Phone: 0141 228 5951

Third party interventions have been used frequently by the Commission in equality cases and in human rights cases, both domestically and in the European Court of Human Rights.  In these cases, the Commission seeks to provide added value and assist the court from an independent perspective, relying where possible on the Commission’s own evidence. 

Cases where the Commission intervenes are usually in the high courts, which focus on legal issues and not on factual disputes.

The Commission is interested in public interest cases which raise issues affecting vulnerable groups, seek to clarify or challenge important questions of law, involve serious matters of public policy or systematic default or abuse by a public body.

If you wish to contact the Commission in Scotland about a case or issue that you think we might be interested in, and you are a lawyer or have some other professional interest in the matter, please complete this Request for Commission Assistance or Intervention form and email it to the following address:
legalrequestscotland@equalityhumanrights.com

Requests for assistance from advocates and solicitors only.

You can contact the Commission about any case you think we might be interested in.  You can also request request speakers for conferences or other events, where our legal team can explain the kind of cases we are looking for and our decision-making processes:

Email:  legalrequestscotland@equalityhumanrights.com
Phone:  0141 228 5951

Our experienced legal staff will be able to discuss with you whether your case concerns an issue that might fall within the Commission's strategic priorities. They will also answer any questions you may have about how to request legal assistance or an intervention from the Commission if you do have a case that we might be interested in.

(Please note however that we will not be able to provide legal advice on this Referrals Helpline. In addition, we are unable to discuss potential referrals from anyone other than professional advisers or representatives such as solicitors or barristers).

Claimants and other individuals who would like advice and information on discrimination and human rights issues should contact the Equality Advisory and Support Service (EASS).

The EASS receives calls from individuals and works collaboratively with advice agencies and other organisations who make referrals to it.

It provides information, assistance and support (but not legal advice or representation) to individuals across Britain about discrimination and human rights issues and the applicable law.

The contact details for the EASS are:
Phone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084
Website: //www.equalityadvisoryservice.com/
Post: FREEPOST Equality Advisory and Support Service FPN4431

Opening hours:
09:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday
10:00 to 14:00 Saturday
Closed on Sundays and Bank Holidays

This handbook provides a brief overview of the Equality Act 2010 for advisors in Scotland. Clients may not initially present their problem as a discrimination case but nonetheless may have a claim under the Equality Act.  The handbook covers the definition of the nine protected characteristics, an overview of different forms of conduct prohibited under the Act and then looks at how the Act applies in different contexts; services and public functions, premises, employment, education and discussed the Public Sector Equality Duty.

We hope that this handbook will provide a helpful overview of the Equality Act 2010 and will act as a reference guide to direct further reading.

A leaflet summarising how we can work with solicitors and advisors can be downloaded here.

Last updated: 01 Jul 2016