EHRC has identified 5 changes to EU Withdrawal Bill needed to achieve 'a positive vision'

Posted On: 
10th November 2017

Ahead of Committee stage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced the first in a series of briefings. 

The Commission has identified 5 changes to the Bill that are needed to achieve a positive vision of the kind of country we want to be after we leave the UK. This first briefing covers Amendments relating to the following issues:

Ensure the UK keeps pace with developments in equality and human rights law by ensuring the courts have regard to relevant EU case law after exit day (Clause 6):

The Commission supports Amendment 137, which provides clear guidance and a consistent framework for UK courts by requiring them to consider any relevant decision of the European Court of Justice. We also support Amendment 306, which means a court or tribunal must take account of the European Court in relation to— (a) employment entitlement, rights and protections; (b) equality entitlements, rights and protections; (c) health and safety entitlement, rights and protections. It helps to keep Britain in harmony with social standards across the EU.

Retain the protections in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (the Charter) (Clause 5 and Schedule 1); 

The Commission supports Amendment 8 which would preserve the Charter as part of retained EU law (in so far as the Charter is covered by clause 4(1)) and ensuring people living in the UK continue to enjoy its protections. We also support Amendment 10, which edits Schedule 1 of the Bill regarding important remedies currently available in UK law, undoing the effect of paragraphs 2 and 3 of Schedule 1 ensuring these remedies remain available to people in the UK.

Include a principle of non-regression of equality and human rights law in the Bill;

The Commission supports New Clause 76, which gives effect to the Government’s commitment to protect our equality laws after we leave the EU. It requires any legislation relating to EU withdrawal to be accompanied by a statement by a minister certifying that it does not remove or reduce protections in the Equality Acts 2006 and 2010.