Blackstone's Guide to the Equality Act

John Wadham


An appreciation by Phillip Taylor MBE and Elizabeth Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers

This Guide will certainly please certain Parliamentarians from the previous government (including the excellent Helena Kennedy) because it has actually now been published to compliment the new legislation which swept away over 100 previous Acts and SIs, and over 2,500 codes of practice and guidance, and has added some new duties just to remind us all about equality issues: so a job well done!

Of course, many have wondered whether this consolidation of previous legislative measures after 40 years would actually be achieved as equality is easy to talk about but much more difficult to implement. However, it has worked (so far), and the complex mass of statutory provisions is now in one Act, containing significant changes to the law to expand the work of the ‘equalities industry’. So, it will be interesting to see how much the implementation of this legislation will cost business!

All practitioners find these Blackstone Guides invaluable for their advice because they deliver concise and accessible commentaries on the latest legislative reforms, changes and amendments to statute law and the Equality Act 2010 fits the bill nicely.

The publishers, Blackstone and OUP, have seen what we need which are publications arriving soon after the legislative enactments with a serious and experienced expert analysis by leading lawyers on the scope, extent and effects of the statutes- and that is exactly what we get.

In addition, the Blackstone Guides Series is always cost-effective giving us a copy of the Act plus key information needs quickly to act as the perfect companion for our main practitioner works to give us a unique additional updating service to compliment formal updates which often lack the depth we require without time-consuming legal research.

The authors explain in 500 pages and 12 chapters how the Act introduces new duties on employers, service providers, and public authorities to eliminate discrimination and promote equality. Kennedy sums things up nicely in the Foreword saying the Act will be a key resource for all who actively pursue a fairer society. Rightly, she admits that many of the institutional barriers which prevent people from achieving their potential in society, or taking their right place in social life, will remain intractable.

The Act is an important new step towards building a society based on equality and human rights by rationalizing and modernising the law. So, the 4 expert authors, John Wadham, Anthony Robinson, David Ruebain and Susie Uppal, give us the additional tools to help us through the new maze and they do the job brilliantly. Their hope is that the Act will be recognised as a vital partner of the Human Rights Act by providing the twin columns of a modern and civilised constitutional settlement.

Whether that comes to pass will have to be seen since the elections in May 2010 although the change of government may have little effect in reality as the statute is already on the books: in any event, at least we have the Blackstone Guide which gives us the explanations and the directions in which society is now going.

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