A short introduction to equality law – Commons Library Research Briefing

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This new briefing from the Commons Library provides an overview of equality law, summarising the main concepts and the role of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

You can find the full briefing here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9448/

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 consolidates most equality law into one Act. It prohibits conduct and creates duties in relation to ‘protected characteristics’. There are nine protected characteristics, listed in section 4 of the Act, ranging from age through to sexual orientation.

The Act prohibits direct and indirect discrimination, and harassment and victimisation. It also prohibits discrimination in relation to something arising from a person’s disability, and creates a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people.

The Act applies in various scenarios, including at work, in education and in relation to services and public functions.

Public authorities are subject to a Public Sector Equality Duty. The Duty means they must ‘have due regard’ to equality considerations when exercising public functions.

Except for in Northern Ireland, which has its own equality legislation, equality law is largely reserved to the the UK Parliament. The legal concepts in this briefing apply across England, Wales and Scotland.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Equality and Human Rights Commission was established by the Equality Act 2006, with a duty to promote and encourage understanding of equality and human rights.

Individuals enforce their rights under the Equality Act 2010 before the courts. However, the Commission also has a range of powers at its disposal to enforce equality law at a more institutional level, and often strategically intervenes as a party to litigation if doing so could help develop equality law.

Constituency casework: asylum, immigration and nationality

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Members of Parliament handle a high volume of immigration, nationality and asylum enquiries from constituents.

The Commons Library has produced a briefing which provides a brief overview of the UK’s immigration and asylum system and basic British nationality law.

It also outlines the legal restrictions on giving immigration advice, gives some suggestions on handling constituents’ enquiries, refers to some sources of information that may be helpful for straightforward questions, and highlights training courses available to Members’ staff.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn03186/

House of Commons Library Research Briefings on Afghanistan

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Parliament has been recalled on Wednesday 18 August 2021 to debate the situation in Afghanistan.

You can find relevant Commons Library research and analysis on the Commons Library website here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/type/research-briefing/

Please note that the situation in Afghanistan is fast moving and briefings should be read as correct at the time of publication.

Commons Library Research Briefing: Directly-elected mayors

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This briefing paper explains the status of directly-elected mayors in English and Welsh local government, and the routes to establishing them, including the use of local referendums. It also includes an up-to-date list of elected mayors and statistics on previous referendums.

Find the briefing here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn05000/

Commons Library Research Briefing: Consumer protection: online scams

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The Commons Library has published a new research briefing looking at online scams. In addition to looking at the scale of the problem, it considers the different types of scams, who are the targeted victims, and what is being done to combat them.

You can find it here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9214/

Commons Library Research Briefing – “Common law marriage” and cohabitation

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The number of couples choosing to live together (cohabit) without getting married or entering a civil partnership, in what is often called “a common law marriage”, increased by 137% between 1996 and 2020.

Although cohabitating couples do have legal protection in several areas, such as under the law relating to domestic abuse, cohabitation gives no general legal status to a couple, unlike marriage and civil partnership from which many legal rights and responsibilities flow. Many people are unaware this is the case.

This briefing provides information about the number of cohabiting couples, how the law applies to them, the Law Commission’s proposals for reform, and other calls for reform.

You can find the briefing here: “Common law marriage” and cohabitation