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19 September 2017

Equality and Human Rights Commission commits funding to help people experiencing discrimination in education.

2 mins

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has initiated its second Legal Support Project which aims to help people who have experienced or are experiencing discrimination in education. 

The EHRC is looking to fund cases of discrimination in schools, further and higher education, or by qualification bodies. Funding can extend to legal advice, preparatory work for legal cases or representation in court. The Commission is encouraging applications from solicitors and legal advisors on behalf of individuals.

Protection from discrimination in education extends to those who feel they have been treated negatively as a result of a personal characteristic protected by the Equality Act 2010 (often referred to as a protected characteristic).  For example, this may include those who have been treated less favourably because of their sex, disability, nationality, or religion (amongst others), by education institutions.  Less favourable treatment may include restrictions on studying part time; rejection of applications; or suspension or expulsion from education.  If you or a family member is in a similar position, a legal advisor may make an application to the EHRC on your behalf to fund legal advice.

This funding scheme follows the EHRC’s pilot scheme which focused on funding disability discrimination cases in a range of areas. The EHRC’s decision to offer funding to reduce discrimination in education is equally welcome. For most people, funding cases of this nature is particularly difficult, not least because discrimination cases are generally complex.  Additionally, the value of a potential claim can be hard to calculate at an early stage.  Accordingly many incidents of unlawful treatment remain unchallenged and therefore unchecked. The Commission’s aim is to increase access to justice for individuals and their families who would normally have little recourse to legal advice or the courts. This should not only provide much needed assistance to those who have been treated less favourably, but also raise standard of approach to equality issues in the sector.

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