Practitioner group meetings

PGMs provide a unique opportunity for members to discuss discrimination law matters in an informal setting with diverse experts and practitioners. They are of particular interest to those advising and representing complainants. It is possible to join on the day to attend a PGM.

PGMs attract CPD (Continuing Professional Development) points through the Bar Standards Board and the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Meetings are usually in London, although the DLA hopes to make certain future meetings available by podcast through the website.

The views expressed during these meetings do not necessarily reflect the views of the DLA, and the DLA cannot be held responsible for any opinions or advice shared during PGMs, which constitute informal discussions between members.

Religion and belief: the current state of law

September 2007

Changes to the Religion and Belief regulations have created a situation in which there will be a difficult social and legal debate on what protection should be given to extreme religious, political and philosophical views, such as fascism and nationalism, religious fundamentalism, universal theocracy etc.

A talk by Declan O’Dempsey, who appeared in Azmi v Kirklees MBC (wearing of veils by teaching assistants), examines the concept of beliefs that are protected under the regulations and those that are not, and early tribunal cases which have tried to deal with this issue, as well as discussing religious dress/symbolism cases (including but not only Azmi). The talk also touches on some of the recent developments relating to goods and services discrimination in the 2006 Equality Act and mentions the conflicts between sexual orientation and religion embedded in the current law.

Using the Race Relations Act to protect migrant workers

July 2007

Migrant workers are suffering systematic discrimination precisely because they are migrants. The Race Relations Act was not designed to be used to protect migrant workers from such discrimination and exploitation, but in the absence of any other mechanisms:

  • Can the RRA be used either directly or indirectly to protect migrant workers from discrimination and exploitation?
  • Do DLA members have experience or suggestions on using the RRA to protect migrant workers?
  • Is there any best practice on this issue to share, or any planning and strategising to be done?

Juliette Nash of North Kensington Law Centre, who has issued claims on this basis and held discuss with the CRE, leads the discussion. Briefing 469, Vol.33 contains a summary of the discussion.

Joint Meeting: Strategic litigation on age related matters

April 2007

This joint DLA event with TAEN (The Age and Employment Network) and Justice discusses the core concepts involved in direct and indirect age discrimination, and the role of strategic cases with the aim of equipping participants to play an active role in the use of strategic cases to resolve issues arising from the Age Regulations.

Presentations are from Gay Moon of Justice, and Robin Allen QC and Declan O’Dempsey of Cloisters Chambers.

Sexual Orientation Regulations – Goods, Facilities and Services

March 2007

With the introduction of The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, this PGM lead by Ulele Burnham of Doughty Street Chambers, discusses definitions, exemptions, and enforcement. Notes on the issue are available in Briefing 447, Vol. 31  

The new Public Sector Duties (DDA and Equality Act)

January 2007

The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 amended the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) to insert the disability equality duty – known as the general duty – into the Act. The duty is aimed at tackling systemic discrimination, and ensuring that public authorities build disability equality into everything that they do. In addition, the Equality Act has introduced a similar duty on public authorities in relation to gender.

This PGM led by Catherine Casserley of the DRC and Jill Brown of Outer Temple Chambers examines the requirements of the duties and looks at how they might be used more generally in litigation carried out on behalf of disabled people and in litigation dealing with gender issues. Briefing 445, Vol.31 contains notes from the meeting.

Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures

October 2006

This PGM was part of the DLA's consultation with members regarding the impact of the statutory dispute resolution procedures on discrimination cases. The EAT case of Edebi [2006] was discussed, along with indications of the statutory dispute resolution procedures leading to increased formality and an escalation of disputes. Briefing 431 in Vol. 29 contains related analysis.

Age discrimination: The new law

June 2006

Karon Monaghan of Matrix Chambers presents on the new anti-discrimination provisions relating to age: Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. Definitions, including a comparison with the Framework Directive, the obligations on employers, and exceptions are discussed in the light of case law. Contentious points, including provisions relating to retirement are also analysed.

Taxing discrimination

June 2006

This PGM, led by Anne Fairpo an expert in corporate taxation issues, discusses tax issues relating to discrimination cases, including provisions of the ITEPA: Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003. Questions include whether or not income tax is applied by HM Revenue & Customs to discrimination-related awards such as damages for injury to feelings, severance payments, and compesation.

Defining disability: case law and the new Guidance

May 2006

Meeting the definition of disability - the "passport" to being protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the Act) - continues to be the subject of many of the cases heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The Disability Discrimination Act of 2005 amended the definition of disability in December 2005, and new Guidance comes into effect in May regarding definitions of disability, which must be taken into account by courts and tribunals.

Catherine Casserley, Barrister-at-law, Senior Legislation Adviser Disability Rights Commission, presents a paper looking at the caselaw on definition and the new guidance.