House of Lords written question – answered on 29th September 2008.

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Photo of Lord Lester of Herne Hill Lord Lester of Herne Hill Spokesperson in the Lords (Discrimination Law Refrom), Women and Equality

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by the Lord President (Baroness Ashton of Upholland) on 22 July (WA 243), whether, in light of the race directive as interpreted by the European Court of Justice, it is appropriate and necessary to introduce amending legislation to allow the Equality and Human Rights Commission to bring enforcement proceedings where no identifiable victim has come forward, to tackle discriminatory practices directly and indirectly.

Photo of Baroness Ashton of Upholland Baroness Ashton of Upholland President of the Council, Privy Council Office, Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council (Privy Council Office)

The Government's view is that our existing legislative framework is broadly compliant. If a similar situation as occurred in the European Court of Justice case of Firma Feryn1 occurred in the UK, our wider domestic law provisions would provide suitable enforcement remedies for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In GB, the EHRC is empowered with various enforcement powers under the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Equality Act 2006 in respect of discriminatory advertisements, discriminatory practices and in circumstances where it thinks a person is likely to commit an unlawful act. We are considering how best to take account of the full implications of the judgment in preparation of the forthcoming Equality Bill. The Bill will provide an opportunity to clarify the position in the context of wider harmonisation and simplification proposals.

1 Case C-54/07 Centrum voor gelijkheid van kansen en voor racismebestrijding v Firma Feryn NV, 10 July 2008

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