Under the auspicies of the Oxford Human Rights Hub, Professor Sandra Fredman, FBA, QC (hon), Director of the OxHRH and Rhodes Professor of the Laws of the British Commonwealth and the USA; Professor Mark Freedland, FBA, QC (hon), Emeritus Professor of Employment Law, Oxford University; Anne Davies, Professor of Law and Public Policy, Oxford University; Judy Fudge, FRSC, Professor of Law, University of Kent; Meghan Campbell, Weston Junior Research Fellow, Oxford University and Deputy-Director of the OxHRH have made a submission to the UK Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee.
It has now been published and is available here.
The Women and Equalities Committee is launching an inquiry to ensure strong equalities legislation outside of the EU. Committee Chair, Maria Miller said ‘against the backdrop of growing consensus on the need for robust parliamentary scrutiny of the UK’s exit from the European Union…this inquiry will help ensure that the critical issue of equalities protection is not forgotten as we navigate our future outside the EU.’ The inquiry examines legislation and legal institutions and processes that may be affected by Brexit and considers how to further embed equality principles.
The OxHRH submission explains the current challenges that equality law faces and calls for continued robust rights protection in the UK. We recommend that
- Any repeal or amendment to the Equality Act, 2010 (EA, 2010) should be subject to full Parliamentary scrutiny and processes
- A purpose clause should be included in the EA 2010 stating the values which should guide interpretation to avoid overly narrow reading of the statute.
- Going forward, EU jurisprudence should be treated as a source of inspiration.
- There should be a principle of no regression, so that rights already granted because of EU law should not be removed.
- There should be a strong presumption that equality law be interpreted consistently with the jurisprudence of the ECtHR and the UK’s remaining international commitments.