Our team is nationally recognised for bringing discrimination cases.
We assist clients who have suffered discrimination on the basis of their age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation. Sometimes the discrimination is direct. Sometimes it is indirect, in that our clients are subject to the same policy or practice as other people but are disadvantaged by that policy or practice because of a particular characteristic. We also use the Human Rights Act to challenge discrimination not covered by the Equality Act.
We act in discrimination claims across a wide range of areas including housing, policing, local government, healthcare, planning, immigration detention and the provision of goods and services. We have obtained injunctions to prevent on-going discrimination as well as substantial financial settlements. We have secured justice for hundreds of people in this area and achieved fundamental improvements to the way in which way organisations implement the Equality Act.
We have helped people facing discrimination in a variety of contexts, for example: by the police for failing to protect women from domestic abuse; by local councils for failing to provide suitable adapted accommodation for disabled tenants; by shops and transport for failing to provide access for disabled people; by the police and the IPCC in relation to homophobic hate crime.
We have particular expertise in relation to the public sector equality duty: the duty to carry out public functions in a way which eliminates discrimination, advances equality of opportunity and fosters good community relations.
Our team has successfully helped service-users bring claims to protect the specialist services they rely on, for example support for women fleeing domestic violence, education services targeted at BME groups, and services run by and for people with learning disabilities.
We have also used the public sector equality duty in innovative ways including to challenge the closure of post offices, to ensure that banknotes have a female historical character on them, to force local authorities to re-think their policies on strip clubs and to challenge the Home Office’s policy of telling migrants to “go home or get arrested”. Our clients have brought cases that have often had a wide-ranging impact, for example a claim against London Councils which succeeded in preserving funding for hundreds of voluntary sector projects across London, and a successful challenge that changed the law to allow heterosexual couples to enter into a civil partnership.
We work closely with leading NGOs including the End Violence Against Women Coalition, Inclusion London, Southall Black Sisters, the National Deaf Children’s Society, People First, Women’s Aid, the Women’s Resource Centre and Transport for All, as well as with individuals and their families who have been affected by discrimination.
We helped to set up the DDPOs legal network to bring together disabled people and lawyers to increase awareness and understanding of current case law and legislation affecting Deaf and Disabled people. We are members of the Discrimination Law Association and support their vital policy work in this area. We regularly speak at their annual conference as well as at other events to help train other lawyers fight discrimination.
We hold a legal aid contract for discrimination casework and regularly secure funding from the Equality and Human Rights Commission to bring strategic cases on behalf of individuals who have experienced discrimination.