Government unveils plans to update discrimination law

A green paper, including proposals for a Single Equality Bill designed to simplify and improve existing legislation and modernise discrimination law, was published by the government today.

The Discrimination Law Review aims to prevent discrimination happening by making equality law clearer and consult on whether there are significant gaps in protection where legislation is needed.

The review proposes that landlords and managers will have to make alterations to common areas of rented or let properties to improve access for disabled tenants, although the tenant will be expected to pay.

The consultation paper also suggests setting up specialist courts at county level, with expertise in hearing discrimination cases, including judges with specific knowledge of this area of law.

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly said:  “Equality law is not about some abstract concept. It is about how every one of us is treated at work, as a customer and consumer, and by our public services. Our consultation document aims to provide clearer and more effective protection from discrimination wherever people are faced with it in their everyday lives.

“For over 40 years, laws have been introduced in a piecemeal fashion and have as a result become overlapping and less clear. So it is right we have this review to ensure the laws which govern how people are treated in their everyday lives are as clear and effective as possible.”

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