Equality before the law is one of the cornerstones of the rule of law, long recognised by the common law. Equality and non-discrimination are core human rights principles, recognised in the law of the ECHR, the EU and the UN International Treaty framework. JUSTICE has a long track record on working to secure respect for equality in UK law.
We supported the development of a single equality act for the UK, in the Equality Act 2010, together with the development of positive duties for public authorities, including those within the justice system, to promote equality. JUSTICE worked to secure express recognition of the protection for equality in Europe, promoting a free-standing equality right in the European Convention on Human Rights in Protocol 12 and supporting the full implementation of Article 13 of the EU Treaty and respect for the EU anti-discrimination framework in the UK.
In our most recent work, we are working to address inequalities in the UK justice system. These inequalities are increasingly exacerbated by budgetary pressures and limited investment in access to justice within the civil, criminal and administrative courts. For example, we are working to highlight the discriminatory effects of the introduction of a residence test for eligibility for legal aid.
Our upcoming projects include work on the treatment of people with learning difficulties and mental health problems in the criminal justice system, and the experience of women in the justice system more widely.