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Equality Act 2006 (c. 3)

(The document as of February, 2008)

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Equality Act 2006

2006 CHAPTER 3

CONTENTS

Content
  1. Part 1

    The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

    1. The Commission

      1. 1. Establishment

      2. 2. Constitution, &c.

      3. 3. General duty

      4. 4. Strategic plan

      5. 5. Strategic plan: consultation

      6. 6. Disclosure

      7. 7. Scotland: human rights

    2. Duties

      1. 8. Equality and diversity

      2. 9. Human rights

      3. 10. Groups

      4. 11. Monitoring the law

      5. 12. Monitoring progress

    3. General powers

      1. 13. Information, advice, &c.

      2. 14. Codes of practice

      3. 15. Codes of practice: supplemental

      4. 16. Inquiries

      5. 17. Grants

      6. 18. Human rights

      7. 19. Groups

    4. Enforcement powers

      1. 20. Investigations

      2. 21. Unlawful act notice

      3. 22. Action plans

      4. 23. Agreements

      5. 24. Applications to court

      6. 25. Application to restrain unlawful advertising, pressure, &c.

      7. 26. Section 25: supplemental

      8. 27. Conciliation

      9. 28. Legal assistance

      10. 29. Legal assistance: costs

      11. 30. Judicial review and other legal proceedings

      12. 31. Public sector duties: assessment

      13. 32. Public sector duties: compliance notice

    5. Interpretation

      1. 33. Equality and human rights enactments

      2. 34. Unlawful

      3. 35. General

    6. Dissolution of Existing Commissions

      1. 36. Dissolution

      2. 37. Transfer of property, &c.

      3. 38. Transfer of property: supplemental

    7. Miscellaneous

      1. 39. Orders and regulations

      2. 40. Consequential amendments

      3. 41. Transitional: the Commission

      4. 42. Transitional: functions of the dissolved Commissions

      5. 43. Transitional: rented housing in Scotland

  2. Part 2

    Discrimination on grounds of religion or belief

    1. Key concepts

      1. 44. Religion and belief

      2. 45. Discrimination

    2. Prohibited discrimination

      1. 46. Goods, facilities and services

      2. 47. Premises

      3. 48. Section 47: exceptions

      4. 49. Educational establishments

      5. 50. Section 49: exceptions

      6. 51. Local education authorities and education authorities

      7. 52. Public authorities: general

    3. Other unlawful acts

      1. 53. Discriminatory practices

      2. 54. Discriminatory advertisements

      3. 55. Instructing or causing discrimination

    4. General exceptions

      1. 56. Statutory requirements

      2. 57. Organisations relating to religion or belief

      3. 58. Charities relating to religion or belief

      4. 59. Faith schools, &c.

      5. 60. Membership requirement

      6. 61. Education, training and welfare

      7. 62. Care within family

      8. 63. National security

      9. 64. Amendment of exceptions

    5. Enforcement

      1. 65. Restriction of proceedings

      2. 66. Claim of unlawful action

      3. 67. Immigration

      4. 68. Remedies

      5. 69. Timing

      6. 70. Information

      7. 71. National security

      8. 72. Validity and revision of contracts

    6. General

      1. 73. Aiding unlawful acts

      2. 74. Employers' and principals' liability

      3. 75. Police, &c.

      4. 76. Indirect provision of benefit, &c.

      5. 77. Employment Equality Regulations

      6. 78. Crown application

      7. 79. Interpretation

      8. 80. Territorial application

  3. Part 3

    Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation

    1. 81. Regulations

    2. 82. Regulations for Northern Ireland

  4. Part 4

    Public Functions

    1. Sex discrimination

      1. 83. Prohibition of discrimination

      2. 84. General duty to promote equality, &c.

      3. 85. Specific duties

      4. 86. Codes of practice

      5. 87. National security

    2. Disability discrimination

      1. 88. General duty: exceptions

      2. 89. National security

    3. Race discrimination

      1. 90. National security

  5. Part 5

    General

    1. 91. Repeals

    2. 92. Crown application

    3. 93. Commencement

    4. 94. Extent

    5. 95. Short title

    1. Schedule 1

      The Commission: Constitution, &c.

      1. Part 1

        Constitution

      2. Part 2

        Proceedings

      3. Part 3

        Money

      4. Part 4

        Status, &c.

      5. Part 5

        Disability Committee

    2. Schedule 2

      Inquiries, Investigations and Assessments

    3. Schedule 3

      Amendments Consequential on Part 1

    4. Schedule 4

      Repeals

An Act to make provision for the establishment of the Commission for Equality and Human Rights; to dissolve the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission; to make provision about discrimination on grounds of religion or belief; to enable provision to be made about discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation; to impose duties relating to sex discrimination on persons performing public functions; to amend the Disability Discrimination Act 1995; and for connected purposes.

[16th February 2006]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:--



Part 1 The Commission for Equality and Human Rights

The Commission

1 Establishment

There shall be a body corporate known as the Commission for Equality and Human Rights.

2 Constitution, &c.

Schedule 1 (constitution of the Commission, proceedings, money, &c.) shall have effect.

3 General duty

The Commission shall exercise its functions under this Part with a view to encouraging and supporting the development of a society in which--

(a) people's ability to achieve their potential is not limited by prejudice or discrimination,

(b) there is respect for and protection of each individual's human rights,

(c) there is respect for the dignity and worth of each individual,

(d) each individual has an equal opportunity to participate in society, and

(e) there is mutual respect between groups based on understanding and valuing of diversity and on shared respect for equality and human rights.

4 Strategic plan

(1) The Commission shall prepare a plan showing--

(a) activities or classes of activity to be undertaken by the Commission in pursuance of its functions under this Act,

(b) an expected timetable for each activity or class, and

(c) priorities for different activities or classes, or principles to be applied in determining priorities.

(2) The Commission shall review the plan--

(a) at least once during the period of three years beginning with its completion,

(b) at least once during each period of three years beginning with the completion of a review, and

(c) at such other times as the Commission thinks appropriate.

(3) If the Commission thinks it appropriate as a result of a review, the Commission shall revise the plan.

(4) The Commission shall send the plan and each revision to the Secretary of State, who shall lay a copy before Parliament.

(5) The Commission shall publish the plan and each revision.

5 Strategic plan: consultation

Before preparing or reviewing a plan in accordance with section 4 the Commission shall--

(a) consult such persons having knowledge or experience relevant to the Commission's functions as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(b) consult such other persons as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(c) issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in the Commission's opinion to bring the invitation to the attention of as large a class of persons who may wish to make representations as is reasonably practicable, and

(d) take account of any representations made.

6 Disclosure

(1) A person who is or was a Commissioner, an Investigating Commissioner, an employee of the Commission or a member of a committee established by the Commission commits an offence if he discloses information to which this section applies unless subsection (3) authorises the disclosure.

(2) This section applies to information acquired by the Commission--

(a) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the course of, an inquiry under section 16,

(b) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the course of, an investigation under section 20,

(c) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in the course of, an assessment under section 31,

(d) by way of representations made in relation to, or otherwise in connection with, a notice under section 32, or

(e) from a person with whom the Commission enters into, or considers entering into, an agreement under section 23.

(3) This subsection authorises a disclosure made--

(a) for the purpose of the exercise of a function of the Commission under any of sections 16, 20, 21, 24, 25, 31 and 32,

(b) in a report of an inquiry, investigation or assessment published by the Commission,

(c) in pursuance of an order of a court or tribunal,

(d) with the consent of each person to whom the disclosed information relates,

(e) in a manner that ensures that no person to whom the disclosed information relates can be identified,

(f) for the purpose of civil or criminal proceedings to which the Commission is party, or

(g) if the information was acquired by the Commission more than 70 years before the date of the disclosure.

(4) But subsection (3) does not authorise, nor may the Commission make, a disclosure of information provided by or relating to an intelligence service unless the service has authorised the disclosure.

(5) In subsection (4) "intelligence service" means--

(a) the Security Service,

(b) the Secret Intelligence Service, and

(c) the Government Communications Headquarters.

(6) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale.

7 Scotland: human rights

(1) The Commission shall not take human rights action in relation to a matter if the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to enable a person to take action of that kind in relation to that matter.

(2) In subsection (1) "human rights action" means action taken--

(a) in accordance with section 9(1), and

(b) under, by virtue of or in pursuance of--

(i) section 11(1) in so far as it relates to the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42),

(ii) section 11(2)(c) or (d),

(iii) section 12,

(iv) section 13,

(v) section 16,

(vi) section 17, or

(vii) section 30.

(3) Despite section 9(4), the Commission shall not, in the course of fulfilling a duty under section 8 or 10, consider the question whether a person's human rights have been contravened if the Scottish Parliament has legislative competence to enable a person to consider that question.

(4) Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from taking action with the consent (whether general or specific) of a person if--

(a) the person is established by Act of the Scottish Parliament, and

(b) the person's principal duties relate to human rights and are similar to any of the Commission's duties under section 9.

(5) Subsections (1) and (3) shall not prevent the Commission from relying on section 13(1)(f) so as to act jointly or cooperate (but not assist) for a purpose relating to human rights and connected with Scotland.



Duties

8 Equality and diversity

(1) The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part--

(a) promote understanding of the importance of equality and diversity,

(b) encourage good practice in relation to equality and diversity,

(c) promote equality of opportunity,

(d) promote awareness and understanding of rights under the equality enactments,

(e) enforce the equality enactments,

(f) work towards the elimination of unlawful discrimination, and

(g) work towards the elimination of unlawful harassment.

(2) In subsection (1)--

  • "diversity" means the fact that individuals are different,

  • "equality" means equality between individuals, and

  • "unlawful" is to be construed in accordance with section 34.

(3) In promoting equality of opportunity between disabled persons and others, the Commission may, in particular, promote the favourable treatment of disabled persons.

(4) In this Part "disabled person" means a person who--

(a) is a disabled person within the meaning of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50), or

(b) has been a disabled person within that meaning (whether or not at a time when that Act had effect).

9 Human rights

(1) The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part--

(a) promote understanding of the importance of human rights,

(b) encourage good practice in relation to human rights,

(c) promote awareness, understanding and protection of human rights, and

(d) encourage public authorities to comply with section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998 (c. 42) (compliance with Convention rights).

(2) In this Part "human rights" means--

(a) the Convention rights within the meaning given by section 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998, and

(b) other human rights.

(3) In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers conferred by this Part in relation to the Convention rights.

(4) In fulfilling a duty under section 8 or 10 the Commission shall take account of any relevant human rights.

(5) A reference in this Part (including this section) to human rights does not exclude any matter by reason only of its being a matter to which section 8 or 10 relates.

10 Groups

(1) The Commission shall, by exercising the powers conferred by this Part--

(a) promote understanding of the importance of good relations--

(i) between members of different groups, and

(ii) between members of groups and others,

(b) encourage good practice in relation to relations--

(i) between members of different groups, and

(ii) between members of groups and others,

(c) work towards the elimination of prejudice against, hatred of and hostility towards members of groups, and

(d) work towards enabling members of groups to participate in society.

(2) In this Part "group" means a group or class of persons who share a common attribute in respect of any of the following matters--

(a) age,

(b) disability,

(c) gender,

(d) proposed, commenced or completed reassignment of gender (within the meaning given by section 82(1) of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65)),

(e) race,

(f) religion or belief, and

(g) sexual orientation.

(3) For the purposes of this Part a reference to a group (as defined in subsection (2)) includes a reference to a smaller group or smaller class, within a group, of persons who share a common attribute (in addition to the attribute by reference to which the group is defined) in respect of any of the matters specified in subsection (2)(a) to (g).

(4) In determining what action to take in pursuance of this section the Commission shall have particular regard to the importance of exercising the powers conferred by this Part in relation to groups defined by reference to race, religion or belief.

(5) The Commission may, in taking action in pursuance of subsection (1) in respect of groups defined by reference to disability and others, promote or encourage the favourable treatment of disabled persons.

(6) The Secretary of State may by order amend the list in subsection (2) so as to--

(a) add an entry, or

(b) vary an entry.

(7) This section is without prejudice to the generality of section 8.

11 Monitoring the law

(1) The Commission shall monitor the effectiveness of the equality and human rights enactments.

(2) The Commission may--

(a) advise central government about the effectiveness of any of the equality and human rights enactments;

(b) recommend to central government the amendment, repeal, consolidation (with or without amendments) or replication (with or without amendments) of any of the equality and human rights enactments;

(c) advise central or devolved government about the effect of an enactment (including an enactment in or under an Act of the Scottish Parliament);

(d) advise central or devolved government about the likely effect of a proposed change of law.

(3) In this section--

(a) "central government" means Her Majesty's Government,

(b) "devolved government" means--

(i) the Scottish Ministers, and

(ii) the National Assembly for Wales, and

(c) a reference to the equality enactments shall be treated as including a reference to any provision of this Act.

12 Monitoring progress

(1) The Commission shall from time to time identify--

(a) changes in society that have occurred or are expected to occur and are relevant to the aim specified in section 3,

(b) results at which to aim for the purpose of encouraging and supporting the development of the society described in section 3 ("outcomes"), and

(c) factors by reference to which progress towards those results may be measured ("indicators").

(2) In identifying outcomes and indicators the Commission shall--

(a) consult such persons having knowledge or experience relevant to the Commission's functions as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(b) consult such other persons as the Commission thinks appropriate,

(c) issue a general invitation to make representations, in a manner likely in the Commission's opinion to bring the invitation to the attention of as large a class of persons who may wish to make representations as is reasonably practicable, and

(d) take account of any representations made.

(3) The Commission shall from time to time monitor progress towards each identified outcome by reference to any relevant identified indicator.

(4) The Commission shall publish a report on progress towards the identified outcomes by reference to the identified indicators--

(a) within the period of three years beginning with the date on which this section comes into force, and

(b) within each period of three years beginning with the date on which a report is published under this subsection.

(5) The Commission shall send each report to the Secretary of State, who shall lay a copy before Parliament.



General powers

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13 Information, advice, &c.

(1) In pursuance of its duties under sections 8 to 10 the Commission may--

(a) publish or otherwise disseminate ideas or information;

(b) undertake research;

(c) provide education or training;

(d) give advice or guidance (whether about the effect or operation of an enactment or otherwise);

(e) arrange for a person to do anything within paragraphs (a) to (d);

(f) act jointly with, co-operate with or assist a person doing anything within paragraphs (a) to (d).

(2) The reference to giving advice in subsection (1)(d) does not include a reference to preparing, or assisting in the preparation of, a document to be used for the purpose of legal proceedings.

14 Codes of practice

(1) The Commission may issue a code of practice in connection with a matter addressed by any of the following--

(a) the Equal Pay Act 1970 (c. 41),

(b) Parts 2 to 4 and section 76A of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65) or an order under section 76B or 76C of that Act,

(c) Parts 2 to 4 and section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74),

(d) Parts 2 to 4 and 5A of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50) except for sections 28D and 28E (accessibility in schools),

(e) Part 2 of this Act,

(f) regulations under Part 3 of this Act,

(g) Parts 2 and 3 of the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/1661), and

(h) Parts 2 and 3 of the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 (S.I. 2003/1660).

(2) A code of practice under subsection (1) shall contain provision designed--

(a) to ensure or facilitate compliance with a provision or enactment listed in subsection (1), or

(b) to promote equality of opportunity.

(3) The Commission may issue a code of practice giving practical guidance to landlords and tenants in England or Wales about--

(a) circumstances in which a tenant requires the consent of his landlord to make a relevant improvement, within the meaning of section 49G(7) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50) (improvements), to a dwelling house,

(b) reasonableness in relation to that consent, and

(c) the application in relation to relevant improvements (within that meaning) to dwelling houses of--

(i) section 19(2) of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1927 (c. 36) (consent to improvements),

(ii) sections 81 to 85 of the Housing Act 1980 (c. 51) (tenant's improvements),

(iii) sections 97 to 99 of the Housing Act 1985 (c. 68) (tenant's improvements), and

(iv) section 49G of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.

(4) The Commission may issue a code of practice giving practical guidance to landlords and tenants of houses (within the meaning of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (asp 01)) in Scotland about--

(a) circumstances in which the tenant requires the consent of the landlord to carry out work in relation to the house for the purpose of making the house suitable for the accommodation, welfare or employment of any disabled person who occupies, or intends to occupy, the house as a sole or main residence,

(b) circumstances in which it is unreasonable to withhold that consent,

(c) circumstances in which any condition imposed on the granting of that consent is unreasonable, and

(d) the application in relation to such work of--

(i) sections 28 to 31 and 34(6) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001 (asp 10), and

(ii) sections 52, 53 and 64(6) of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (asp 01).

(5) The Commission shall comply with a direction of the Secretary of State to issue a code under this section in connection with a specified matter if--

(a) the matter is not listed in subsection (1), but

(b) the Secretary of State expects to add it by order under section 15(6).

(6) Before issuing a code under this section the Commission shall--

(a) publish proposals, and

(b) consult such persons as it thinks appropriate.

(7) Before issuing a code under this section the Commission shall submit a draft to the Secretary of State, who shall--

(a) if he approves the draft--

(i) notify the Commission, and

(ii) lay a copy before Parliament, or

(b) otherwise, give the Commission written reasons why he does not approve the draft.

(8) Where a draft is laid before Parliament under subsection (7)(a)(ii), if neither House passes a resolution disapproving the draft within 40 days--

(a) the Commission may issue the code in the form of the draft, and

(b) it shall come into force in accordance with provision made by the Secretary of State by order.

(9) If, or in so far as, a code relates to a duty imposed by or under section 76A, 76B or 76C of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (c. 65), section 71 of the Race Relations Act 1976 (c. 74) or section 49A or 49D of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (c. 50) (public authorities: general anti-discrimination duties) the Secretary of State shall consult the Scottish Ministers and the National Assembly for Wales before--

(a) approving a draft under subsection (7)(a) above, or

(b) making an order under subsection (8)(b) above.

(10) In relation to a code of practice under subsection (4), the Secretary of State shall consult the Scottish Ministers before--

(a) approving a draft under subsection (7)(a) above, or

(b) making an order under subsection (8)(b) above.

15 Codes of practice: supplemental

(1) The Commission may revise a code issued under section 14; and a reference in this section or in that section to the issue of a code shall be treated as including a reference to the revision of a code.

(2) The 40 day period specified in section 14(8)--

(a) shall begin with the date on which the draft is laid before both Houses (or, if laid before each House on a different date, with the later date), and

(b) shall be taken not to include a period during which--

(i) Parliament is prorogued or dissolved, or

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