Delivering Equality: Towards an Outcome- Focused Positive Duty

Published 1 January 2006 / By Sarah Spencer, Sandra Fredman

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The perceived limitations of statutory anti-discrimination law, with its basis in an individual complaints led model, have led to the construction of an alternative approach to equality, based on a proactive model. Pioneered in Northern Ireland, the proactive model has gathered increasing momentum in Britain, where the race equality duty has been followed by a similar duty in respect of disability. A gender duty is in the pipeline. The aim of this paper is to elucidate the limitations in the existing duties and to suggest a possible alternative approach which requires action while leaving public bodies with a greater level of autonomy to decide how those outcomes are delivered. It is hoped that this analysis will be of assistance to the Equality and Discrimination Law Reviews as they develop proposals for reform.


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