Joint Committee On Human Rights Sixth Report


Annex B Functions and Powers of equality and human rights bodies

Table A shows the duties and powers of equality commissions in the UK (the Equal Opportunities Commission, established under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975; the Commission for Racial Equality, established under the Race Relations Act 1976; the Disability Rights Commission, established under the Disability Rights Commission Act 1999; the Northern Ireland Equality Commission, established under the Northern Ireland Act 1998) and elsewhere (the Irish Equality Authority, established under the Employment Equality Act 1998 and also having regard to the Equal Status Act 2000; the Canadian Human Rights Commission, established under the Canadian Human Rights Act 1977; the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, established under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986—subsequently amended; and the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, established under the Human Rights Act 1993, amended in 2001).

Table B shows the duties and powers of human rights commissions, some of which also appear in Table A. These are: the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (established under the Northern Ireland Act 1998); the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (established under the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, subsequently amended); the New Zealand Human Rights Commission (established under the Human Rights Act 1993 as amended in 2001 and also having regard to the Bill of Rights Act 1990); the South African Human Rights Commission (established under the Human Rights Commission Act 1994); and the Indian National Human Rights Commission (established under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993).

Table C combines the data in Tables A and B.[164]

Table A Duties and Powers of Equality Commissions
GB

EOC
GB

CRE
GB

DRC
NI

EC
Ireland

EA
Canada

HRC
Australia

HREOC
NZ

HRC

Statutory Authority
SDA 1975
RRA 1976
DRCA 1999
NIA

 1998
EEA

 1998
CHRA 1977
HREOCA 1986
HRA

 1993
Duty to eliminate discrimination
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Duty to promote equality of opportunity
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Scrutinizes legislation for discrimination + equality of opportunity
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Oversees positive duties of employers or public authorities
·  
·  
·  
Provides legal advice and/or assistance to individuals
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Receives and/or initiates complaints
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Conducts formal investigations
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Powers to enter, inspect and search premises
·  
Powers to examine witnesses
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Powers to obtain disclosure of any article or document
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Makes formal recommendations to Ministers and others
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Brings in its own name or others or appears in court proceedings
·  
·  
·  
·  
Conducts equality reviews/serves non-disc notices etc
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Provides mediation or conciliation services
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Third Party Intervenor/ Amicus Curiae
·  
·  
Publishes Codes of Practice on elimination of discrimination
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Promotes awareness + understanding of non-disc/equality agenda
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Undertakes research and educational activities
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Consults/works with similar bodies and persons
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Annual reports laid before Parliament
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Keeps proper accounts and financial records
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  


Table B Duties and Powers of Human Rights Commissions

N Ireland

HRC
Australia

HREOC
NZ

HRC
S Africa

HRC
India

NHRC
Statutory AuthorityNIA 1998
HREOCA 1986
HRA

1993
HRCA 1994
PHRA 1993
Duty to eliminate discrimination
·  
·  
Duty to promote equality of opportunity
·  
·  
Scrutinizes legislation for discrimination + equality of opportunity
·  
·  
Scrutinizes legislation for HR compatibility
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Provides legal advice and/or assistance to individuals
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Receives and/or initiates complaints
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Conducts formal investigations
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Powers to enter, inspect and search premises
·  
Powers to examine witnesses
·  
·  
·  
·  
Powers to obtain disclosure of any article or document
·  
·  
·  
·  
Makes formal recommendations to Ministers and others
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Brings in its own name or others or appears in court proceedings
·  
·  
Provides mediation or conciliation services
·  
·  
·  
Third Party Intervenor/ Amicus Curiae
·  
·  
·  
·  
Publishes Codes of Practice on elimination of discrimination
·  
·  
Publishes Codes of Practice on human rights protection
·  
·  
·  
Promotes awareness + understanding of non-disc/equality agenda
·  
·  
Promotes awareness + understanding of human rights
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Undertakes research and educational activities
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Consults/works with similar bodies and persons
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Submits annual reports to be laid before Parliament
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Keeps proper accounts and financial records
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  

Table C Duties and Powers of Human Rights and Equality Commissions
GB

EOC
GB

CRE
GB

DRC
NI

EC
NI

HRC
Ireland

EA
Canada

HRC
Australia

HREOC
NZ

HRC
S Africa

HRC
India

NHRC
Statutory Authority
SDA 1975
RRA 1976
DRCA 1999
NIA 1998
NIA 1998
EEA 1998
CHRA 1977
HREOCA 1986
HRA 1993
HRCA 1994
PHRA 1993
Duty to eliminate discrimination
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Duty to promote equality of opportunity
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Scrutinizes legislation for discrimination + equality of opportunity
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Scrutinizes legislation for HR compatibility
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Oversees positive duties of employers or public authorities
·  
·  
·  
Provides legal advice and/or assistance to individuals
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Receives and/or initiates complaints
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Conducts formal investigations
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Powers to enter, inspect and search premises
·  
·  
Powers to examine witnesses
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Powers to obtain disclosure of any article or document
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Makes formal recommendations to Ministers and others
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Brings in its own name or others or appears in court proceedings
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Conducts equality reviews/serves non-disc notices etc
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Provides mediation or conciliation services
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Third Party Intervenor/ Amicus Curiae
·  
·  
·  
·  
Publishes Codes of Practice on elimination of discrimination
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Publishes Codes of Practice on human rights protection
·  
·  
·  
Promotes awareness + understanding of non-disc/equality agenda
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Promotes awareness + understanding of human rights
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Undertakes research and educational activities
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Consults/works with similar bodies and persons
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Submits annual reports to be laid before Parliament
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
Keeps proper accounts and financial records
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  
·  



164   The Tables were prepared by Jane Gordon, former Legal Assistant to Lord Lester of Herne Hill QC. Back


 
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Prepared 19 March 2003