Access to justice

Legal Complaints Service: The publication of solicitors complaints records

This is a response to the Legal Complaints Service's consultation. While the DLA broadly welcomes the proposal for the publication of solicitor's legal complaints records, it has a number of recommendations that would further improve clients' access to redress in the event of discrimination by their solicitor, and ensure also that BME solicitors are not disproportionately affected by the new measures.

April 2008

Examining the Place of Mediation in Equality Cases

Following the publication of the Gibbons Review, the government issued a consultation paper on changes to the employment dispute resolution process, 'Success at Work: Resolving Disputes in the Workplace- a consultation'. This recommends moving away from the existing Statutory Dispute Resolution Procedures, and suggests a move towards a greater role for mediation.

Melanie Pine, Director of the Equality Tribunal, Ireland, discusses the usefulness of mediation in the resolution of equality disputes. In Ireland the Equality Tribunal mediates all equality cases unless either the applicant or the respondent does not prefer mediation. If the mediation is unsuccessful, the Equality Tribunal can hear the case.

May 2007

Independent Police Complaints Commission Guidelines

As organisations with overlapping and shared concerns regarding acts of discrimination by the police the following is a joint response to this consultation by the Police Action Lawyers Group (PALG) and the DLA.

The draft guidance makes clear that the IPCC fully recognises discrimination as an aspect of police conduct about which members of the public are likely to complain. We therefore welcome the decision by the IPCC to seek to ensure high standards and best practice. However, the PALG and the DLA are concerned about much of the content of the draft guidance, including serious inaccuracies, and more fundamental concerns about the ways in which the information on discrimination law and discriminatory conduct referred to in these draft guidelines should be 'packaged' - when, how and to whom it should be provided.

January 2008

Interim funding arrangements for the Equality and Human Rights Commission

The DLA welcomes the opportunity to comment on the EHRC's proposals for its funding of external organisations during 2008-9. The year 2008-9 is likely to be a critical one for the EHRC in terms of establishing its role and credibility with government, the public and its very wide range of stakeholders.

The DLA submits that the EHRC's decisions regarding how it supports, or fails to support, the very wide range of external organisations working in areas within its statutory mandate.

The DLA strongly recommended a total re-ordering of the EHRC's priorities for funding in 2008-9 so that its first two priorities should be the current fourth and third and fourth priorities, namely Provision of complainant aid services and Promoting an understanding of the importance of equalities and human rights.

November 2007

SDRP: Resolving disputes in the workplace

In response to the Department of Trade & Industry's consultation, the DLA recommends that the statutory dispute resolution procedures be repealed. This is the almost universal recommendation of our previous research of our members (statutory dispute resolution procedures questionnaires).

The DLA response urges that procedures be voluntary and that penalties are not attached to failure to make attempts to resolve/settle disputes, which would simply bring the statutory dispute resolution procedures back in by the back door.

June 2007

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