Equality Bill [HL]—continued
Part 5—continued
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53     Proceedings involving matters of national security

(1)    This section applies in relation to any matter that has been transferred to a county or sheriff's court under section 52(4).
(2)    County court rules (or, in relation to Scotland, sheriff court rules) may make provision for enabling a court to take any of the following steps where it considers it expedient to do so in the interests of national security—
(a)    to exclude from all or part of the proceedings the person initiating the proceedings (“the claimant”) or his representatives;
(b)    to permit a claimant or representative who has been excluded to make a statement to the court before the commencement of the proceedings, or the part of the proceedings from which he has been excluded;
(c)    to take steps to keep secret all or part of the reasons for its decision in the proceedings.
(3)    The Attorney General or, in Scotland, the Advocate General for Scotland, may appoint a person to represent the interests of a claimant in, or in any part of, any proceedings from which the claimant and his representatives are excluded by virtue of subsection (2).
(4)    A person appointed under subsection (3)—
(a)    if appointed for the purposes of proceedings in England and Wales, must have a general qualification (within the meaning of section 71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (c. 41)); and
(b)    if appointed for the purposes of proceedings in Scotland, must be—
(i)    an advocate; or
(ii)    a solicitor who has, by virtue of section 25A of the Solicitors (Scotland) Act 1980 (c. 46), rights of audience in the Court of Session or the High Court of Justiciary.
(5)    A person appointed under subsection (3) is not responsible to the person whose interests he is appointed to represent.



Obtaining information

54     Commission powers to gather information

(1)    The Commission may, by notice in writing, seek to obtain information from such persons as it thinks fit for any purpose connected with the discharge of its functions.
(2)    The Commission may, in addition, conduct an investigation for the purpose of assisting it in—
(a)    determining the steps required of any person to avoid doing any act made unlawful by any provision of Part 2;
(b)    determining the steps required of any person to comply with any requirements imposed on him by or under Part 3 of this Act;
(c )    considering whether to exercise against any person any of its powers under this Part;
(d)    discharging any other of its functions.
(3)    An investigation under subsection (2) may (amongst other things) relate to—
(a)    any aspect of the conduct of a person identified in paragraphs (a) to (f) of section 6(1) which takes place within the protected area of activity there specified;
(b)    the carrying out by a public body of any of its functions;
(c)    any aspect of the workforce of an employer or of his employment policies or practices (including any provisions, criteria or practices relating to the termination of employment);
(d)    any aspect of the arrangements or services provided by a body responsible for an educational establishment;
(e)    any aspect of the goods, facilities or services provided by any person to members of the public or a section of the public.
(4)    Schedule 7 contains provision as to the powers of the Commission on an investigation and the applicable procedure.

55     Restrictions on disclosure of information

(1)    This section applies to information given to the Commission in connection with the exercise of any of its functions under this Act.
(2)    Such information must not be disclosed unless the disclosure is permitted under subsections (3) to (6).
(3)    Subsection (2) does not prohibit the disclosure of any information if the information—
(a)    has been made available to the public by virtue of being disclosed in any circumstances in which, or for any purposes for which, disclosure is not precluded by this section;
(b)    is in the form of a summary or collection of information so framed that it is not possible to ascertain from it information relating to any particular person.
(4)    Subsection (2) does not prohibit the disclosure by the Commission (or any person authorised by it to act on its behalf) of information held by it if it obtains the consent of—
(a)    the person from whom the Commission obtained the information; and
(b)    if different, the person to whom it relates.
(5)    The Commission may disclose information to which this section applies for the purpose of facilitating the exercise by the Commission of any function it has under or by virtue of this Act.
(6)    The Commission may disclose information to which this section applies to the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland for the purpose of facilitating the exercise by that Commission of any function it has under or by virtue of Part 7 of the Northern Ireland Act (c. 47) (human rights and equal opportunities).
(7)    Any person who discloses information to which this section applies in contravention of subsection (2) commits an offence and is liable—
(a)    on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or both.
(b)    on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine, or both.
(8)    Nothing in this section authorises a disclosure of information which contravenes the Data Protection Act 1998 (c. 29).


56     Obtaining undertakings

(1)    Any person may give to the Commission a written undertaking that he will take such action as is specified in the undertaking.
(2)    An undertaking under subsection (1) may be given—
(a)    as a result of informal discussions between the person concerned and the Commission; or
(b)    in response to a request made under subsection (3).
(3)    A request for an undertaking—
(a)    may be made if the Commission has formed the opinion (whether before or after an investigation under section 54(2)) that a person ought to take particular action in order to comply with any one or more of the requirements of Part 2 or 3 of this Act that apply to him; and
(b)    must specify the requirement or requirements in question.
(4)    An undertaking under subsection (2) must be in such terms as appear satisfactory to the Commission with a view to ensuring that the person who gives the undertaking takes such action to comply with the requirements concerned as it is reasonable and appropriate for him to take in the circumstances of the case.

Compliance notices: contraventions of Parts 2 and 3 of this Act

57     Commission's power to issue compliance notices

(1)    The Commission may give a compliance notice to any person (“A”) where it appears to the Commission that any of the circumstances mentioned in subsection (2) have arisen.
(2)    The circumstances are that A has failed—
(a)    to comply with an undertaking given under section 56(1);
(b)    to give any undertaking in response to a request under section 56(3);
(c)    to give an undertaking that complies with section 56(4);
(d)    to comply with any duty imposed on him under Part 3.
(3)    A compliance notice must—
(a)    indicate the reasons for giving it;
(b)    identify any requirement of this Act which, in the opinion of the Commission, has not been complied with by the recipient;
(c)    contain such directions as the Commission considers to be reasonable and appropriate to secure compliance with the requirement concerned; and
(d)    state the period within which those directions must be complied with.
(4)    Directions under subsection (3)(c) may, in particular, include—
(a)    directions for the abandonment of any practice;
(b)    directions for the modification, in accordance with any instructions given in the directions, of any practice;
(c)    directions for the substitution or adoption of any new practices specified by the Commission;
(d)    such directions as the Commission considers necessary to ensure that other directions are duly carried out.
(5)    The Commission may at any time after giving a compliance notice (and whether on request or otherwise)—
(a)    revoke all the directions; or
(b)    modify the directions by revoking any of them or by substituting new directions for all or any of them.
(6)    The Commission may accept from the applicant an undertaking under section 56 in substitution for any directions revoked by it under subsection (5)(a).
(7)    Directions given in a compliance notice are—
(a)    binding on the person concerned (except to the extent that they are quashed or other directions are substituted for them under section 59); and
(b)    enforceable only in accordance with section 60.

58     Compliance notices: procedure

(1)    If the Commission proposes to give any person a compliance notice, it must give that person—
(a)    a draft copy of the compliance notice; and
(b)    a written statement giving reasons for the notice and specifying a reasonable period within which that person may make representations to the Commission.
(2)    The period mentioned in subsection (1)(b) may not be less than 28 days and not more than 56 days.
(3)    The Commission—
(a)    must consider any written or oral representations made to it by the person to whom it gives the statement required by subsection (1)(b);
(b)    must consider any written representations made to it by any other person who appears to the Commission to have a direct interest by the matter; and
(c)    may invite any person to make written or oral representations to it.
(4)    If the Commission decides to give to any person a compliance notice (whether in its original form or with amendments), it must give that person written notice of its decision.
(5)    Where, under section 57(5), the Commission revokes or modifies any directions contained in a compliance notice, the Commission must give written notice of the revocation or modification to the person concerned.

59     Compliance notices: appeals

(1)    A person to whom a compliance notice is given may appeal to the tribunal.
(2)    A compliance notice must inform the person to whom it is given of that right and must include an indication of the procedure on such an appeal.
(3)    An appeal under this section must be made before the end of the period of 21 days beginning with the date on which the compliance notice is given.
(4)    On an appeal, the tribunal—
(a)    may make an order under subsection (5) if it is satisfied in the circumstances of the case—
(i)    that it is unreasonable to expect the person to whom a compliance notice was given to comply with the directions contained in it; or
(ii)    that the directions are not appropriate; or
(b)    may dismiss the matter.
(5)    An order under this subsection is such of the following orders as appears to the tribunal to be just and equitable in the circumstances of the case—
(a)    an order to quash the directions contained in the compliance notice or any of them; or
(b)    an order to substitute for the directions or any of them such other directions (of a kind that the Commission could have given) as the tribunal considers reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances of the case.
(6)    Directions under subsection (5)(b) are binding on the appellant and are enforceable only in accordance with section 60.

60     Compliance notices: enforcement

(1)    The Commission may apply to the tribunal for an order enforcing a compliance notice.
(2)    An application under this section may not be made—
(a)    before the end of the period of 28 days commencing with the date on which the notice was given; or
(b)    if an appeal under section 59 is made, before the end of the period of 28 days commencing with the date on which the appeal is determined or abandoned.
(3)    On an application under this section, the tribunal may—
(a)    make such order as it thinks fit in the circumstances of the case for the purpose of giving effect to the compliance notice; and
(b)    whether or not it makes such an order, order that the whole or part of the compliance notice is to cease to have effect.
(4)    An order under subsection (3)(a)—
(a)    must specify the steps to be taken by the person to whom the notice was given;
(b)    may specify the time within which each step is to be taken; and
(c)    may require a specified person to attend before the tribunal to report to the tribunal on the extent to which those steps have been taken.
(5)    The tribunal may revoke or vary the terms of any order under subsection (3)(a) either—
(a)    on an application made by the Commission or by the person in relation to whom the order was made; or
(b)    where a person attends before the tribunal in pursuance of a requirement imposed by virtue of subsection (4)(c).
(6)    The Commission is entitled to be heard on any occasion when, in pursuance of a requirement imposed by virtue of subsection (4)(c), a person attends before the tribunal.

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