Commission welcomes UN focus on access to justice and social security reform

Published: 29 Jun 2016

Reforms to the legal aid system, the introduction of employment tribunal fees and changes to the social security system have all been highlighted as major human rights concerns by the United Nations in a critical report.

The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights raised concerns about access to justice, especially for disadvantaged and marginalized groups as well as in areas such as employment, housing, education and social security.

Commissioner Lorna McGregor, said:

'Recent reforms to civil law justice have had particular impacts on disabled people, women and ethnic minorities. For example, the introduction of fees for employment tribunals has resulted in large drops in the numbers of claims brought for discrimination on the basis of sex, disability, race and sexual orientation.

I welcome this report by the UN and we will now work with civil society organisations to hold the Government to account in this area.'

Lorna McGregor continued:

'The UK Government should improve its planning and monitoring of reforms to social security. It should extend its analysis to include the cumulative impact of decisions on people sharing protected characteristics, review policies which have reduced protections and identify mitigating actions where adverse impacts are identified.'


Notes to Editors

  • The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’ report can be found here
  • The majority of recommendations reflect the issues the Commission raised in its report to the Committee in April.

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