The Discrimination Law Association (the DLA) , the registered charity and membership organisation active in the field of anti-discrimination law (EqualPayPortal is a member), has published a comprehensive response to the Bach Commission's call for evidence on Access to Justice which is exploring establishing access to justice as a fundamental public entitlement.
The DLA is concerned with the way in which claimants who experience discrimination at work are treated by the justice system and identifies a number of measures whose introduction would improve access to justice in discrimination matters:
- The removal or significant reduction of Employment Tribunal Fees;
- The reintroduction of public funding for an initial 2 hours minimum expert legal advice on a face to face basis;
- The reintroduction and extension of powers of Courts and Tribunals to make binding recommendations for discriminatory organisations to implement improvements and make chances to practices;
- An obligation to ensure provision of legal services which are accessible in practice to all members of the community regardless of geographical location or protected characteristics. This should involve a reassessment of the mechanisms for delivering publicly funded legal services, and the re-evaluation of the utility of restrictions on delivery of advice and assistance resulting from contracting;
- The reconsideration and implementation of the Public Sector Duty Regarding Socio Economic Inequalities as contained in section 1 of the Equality Act 2010; with adequate resourcing to be considered;
- The reintroduction of a pre litigation procedure for discovery of information for discrimination claims as set out but not implemented in section 138 of the Equality Act 2010.
As equal pay claimants will have been particularly hard-hit by the double whammy of the introduction of Employment Tribunal Fees and the removal of the equal pay questionnaire, EqualPayPortal has no hesitation in endorsing the DLA's call for the above measures to be introduced.
You can find the DLA submission here.