DLA Conference 2010 - "Getting the most out of the Equality Act 2010"

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 HERE

Discrimination Law Assn Equality Act 2010 conference.pdf210.86 KB
DLA Conference 2010-09-28 Allen.pdf150.11 KB
DLA conference disability and the equality act sept 2010.pdf87.44 KB
DLA Conference Equal Pay 23.9.pdf42.36 KB
DLAConferencepublicfunctions.pdf58.48 KB
Getting the most out of the Equality Act 2010 - Halford.pdf66.06 KB
Disability and the Equality Act DLA.pdf19.9 KB