DLA conferences

Every two years, the DLA organises a conference bringing together practitioners and experts to discuss major issues and trends in discrimination law matters.  

Past DLA Conferences have covered various topics, including:

  • Getting the most out of the Equality Act 2010
  • Re-Imagining Equality: A Vision for the Future
  • The fight against Racial Discrimination
  • The Future of Equalities Legislation
  • Access to Justice and Improving Services to Victims of Discrimination
  • Achieving Civil Justice for Minorities.

DLA Annual Conference 2014 "Discrimination & Economic Inequality : two faces of disadvantage" - October 2014 conference report

Responding to the conference theme - Discrimination and Economic Inequality: two faces of disadvantage - the speakers considered the issue from different perspectives; the general consensus was that legislative and policy changes are required to halt growing inequalities in the UK.

DLA conference 2013 - Equality 2015: Setting the Agenda

Thanks to all those who came to this year’s DLA conference.  We had a fantastic turnout with well over a hundred people attending, including delegates, speakers and committee members.


This provided the setting for some excellent talks by our fantastic speakers and some really in-depth debate on the issues of the day.


Comments on the conference as a whole were very enthusiastic: “well done on the organisation, presentation and contents in general - a very informative, well thought-out and stimulating conference” and “Such a useful day - I feel recharged”.  A full report on the day’s proceedings will be included in the next edition of Briefings.


The DLA is very grateful to Baker & McKenzie LLP for their generous help in hosting the conference.


They would also like to thank Leigh Day Solicitors and the Free Representation Unit for their generous administrative support.

Barbara Cohen, chair of the DLA, and Michael Newman, vice-chair of the DLA, report below on the DLA’s 2013 conference ‘Equality 2015: Setting the Agenda’

DLA Conference 2012

DLA annual conference Equality Act 2010: Keeping the show on the road

Barbara Cohen, discrimination law consultant, reports on the DLA’s conference which took place in London on 5th October 2012. She highlights the discussions on how practitioners, advice workers, trade unions and others can maintain efforts to combat discrimination in the face of major changes by the Coalition Government to equality law and its enforcement.

2011 DLA Conference - Equality Act - One Year On

Many thanks to all those who came to the DLA conference on Monday, 17th October and helped to make it such a success. 

Typical comments were :
  • "Excellent conference, I feel that it was of fantastic value to me as a practitioner"
  • "Thank you - mostly very instructive"
  • "Debate at the end was very good"
  • "Excellent conference"
  • "Excellently organised and very useful and relevant content - thank you"


The Discrimination Law Association is extremely grateful for the generous support of this conference provided by


2010 DLA Conference

The focus of the recent 2010 conference was :

"Getting the most out of the Equality Act 2010"

Ulele Burnham, chairwoman of the DLA’s executive committee, has commented as follows on the conference:

As our members will know, the DLA conference ‘Getting the most out of the Equality Act 2010’, graciously hosted by Eversheds LLP, took place on September 28, 2010.

The day’s events opened with an enlivening keynote address from Mrs Justice Cox who underlined the benefits of many of the Act’s new measures and implored participants to recognise it as the positive outcome of many years of campaigning for more coherent equality laws even if many hoped for more thorough-going reform.

Karon Monaghan QC then took the conference through more detail of the Act’s provisions considering definitional changes, consolidating and harmonising measures, anachronisms, the extension of the public sector equality duty to all protected characteristics, and the potential development of a new socio-economic duty.

Robin Allen QC reviewed the changes heralded by the Act in relation to positive action. These provisions may enable employers and others to engage persons belonging to a disadvantaged group (protected characteristic) instead of others similarly qualified where participation by that group is disproportionately low. These reasonably contested provisions, aimed to meet the European law goal of ‘full equality in practice’, may never be brought into force. Robin Allen also guided us through some of the exceptions in the Act including some illuminating insights on the rationale for the same. John Halford of Bindmans then took a nuanced approach to what could be achieved by the use of the new public sector duties by looking closely at the development of the law on the old duties.

In the afternoon, experts provided detailed sector specific guidance greatly appreciated by attendees: Heather Williams QC addressed services and public functions, Beth Holbrook spoke to the Act’s education provisions, Jan Luba QC covered the aspects of the Act relevant to housing, Razia Karim looked at the voluntary sector and NGO elements, Catherine Casserley and Caroline Gooding considered changes to disability discrimination law whilst Camilla Palmer did the same in relation to pregnancy and maternity. Equal Pay was reviewed by Ben Patrick, Unison solicitor with Jenny Earle of the EHRC, positive action and exceptions by Barbara Cohen, Dr Majid and Gay Moon and Tamara Lewis did a full session on the impact on employment rights.

Word on the street was that attendees did get the most out of a scintillating and educative day and are now ready to make strategic use of the Act. We at the DLA cannot thank Eversheds enough for hosting what was a great success. We also extend our sincere gratitude to all of our speakers for the invaluable gift of their time and effort. Also of course, we thank those who came, took part and so supported the DLA in its aim to keep pushing the equality agenda.

You can access the conference presentation documents by clicking on attachments

6th DLA Conference - transcript and presentations

About the Conference
The 2005 DLA Conference was planned to coincide with the UK government's review of discrimination law. The title of the conference, "Re-imagining Equality: a vision for the future", made clear its aim to stimulate thinking amongst practising and academic lawyers, advice workers and equality activists about what new equality legislation should look like. Speakers were selected because of their wide and varied experience of using the law to combat discrimination.

It was also hoped that participants would gain a greater understanding of how existing law could be used most effectively; and that they would be encouraged to participate in the current debate in order to secure new equality legislation - perhaps a single equality act -- that will indeed make a difference.

Keynote Speaker: Judge Albie Sachs from the South African Constitutional Court

6th Conference - Re-Imagining Equality: A Vision for the Future

 Presentation by Keynote Speaker, Justice Albie Sachs, a Justice on the Constitutional Court of South Africa.