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Legal Support Project: discrimination in education

The Legal Support Project provides advice and funding to help individuals who have experienced discrimination to pursue legal claims where they might not otherwise be able to access legal support.

The aim of this project is to:

  • increase access to justice for individuals who have experienced discrimination in education; and
  • gather information about issues where students face discrimination in educational institutions in order to undertake enforcement action or policy work where appropriate.

Legal representatives or advisors can apply for funding or assistance from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on behalf of individuals.

The project is intended for cases which:

  • relate to discrimination in schools, further and higher education providers or general qualification bodies: and
  • relate to discrimination on the grounds of age; disability (including physical disabilities, mental health, learning difficulties and special educational needs); gender reassignment; marriage or civil partnership status; pregnancy or maternity; race (including colour, nationality or ethnic origins); religion or belief; sex/gender; or sexual orientation.

If you are a legal representative or individual and would like to discuss the scheme or to request assistance, please contact educationcases@qualityhumanrights.com or call: 0161 829 8140.

If you want to talk about a case in Scotland, please contact  https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/commission-scotland/human-rights-scotland  or call: 0141 228 5951.

Please note: The project is not about EHCPs, but about disability discrimination in education regarding the Equality Act 2010.  

What is the aim of the project?

Our objective is to increase access to justice for victims of discrimination under Part 6 of the Equality Act 2010 concerning discrimination in education.

What kind of assistance can the project offer?

The Commission may be able to help by:

  • funding front line advice from solicitors
  • funding legal representation in Court/Tribunal
  • providing funding for disbursements (e.g. counsel’s fees or medical reports)
  • In some cases, take cases 'in-house’ to be progressed by our dedicated team of discrimination lawyers.

What kinds of cases can the project fund?

The claim must relate to discrimination by a school, further or higher education institution, or general qualifications body, which can be brought under Part 6 of the Equality Act 2010. We are unable to assist in general education law matters (such as issues relating to EHC Plans) unless they raise complaints under the Equality Act 2010.

Unfortunately, we cannot assist with claims which relate solely to the public sector equality duty.

Our objective is to improve access to justice for victims of discrimination. For this reason, we will only provide assistance where we think that this will help someone to access justice in circumstances where they might not otherwise be able to do so.

If you are unsure as to whether your case is one with which we can assist, please contact the project and we will be able to give you further advice.

Who can apply?

We can consider applications from solicitors/advisors acting for individuals in need of funding to pursue their case. If you are an individual who thinks you have suffered, or that your child has suffered, discrimination in education, we advise you to contact a solicitor and inform them about the project and request that they make an application to us for funding. They can apply to us by filling in the attached application form (available to download on the right-hand side). In our experience, solicitors have been willing to do a brief initial assessment and complete the application form free of charge, but we recommend that individuals discuss this with their solicitor at the outset. We are unable to provide any funding to cover the costs of making the application.

In certain exceptional circumstances, such as where there is an imminent deadline (e.g. in school exclusions cases) and an individual has not yet identified a solicitor, we may be able to provide the individual with direct assistance.

What about not for profit advice providers?

If you are a solicitor/caseworker providing advice/casework in the not for profit sector, you can apply for funding to cover the cost of casework provided that the casework is not being carried out by volunteers and you employ a solicitor with experience of running discrimination or education cases.

If you do not qualify for funding you can still apply to us for funding for representation (e.g. instructing counsel) or disbursements (e.g. obtaining expert reports).

If you are uncertain about whether you can obtain assistance for a case then please contact us at: educationcaseseguaIityhumanriqhts.comr or on: 0161 829 8140.

I am an individual. Where can I find a solicitor to take on my case and make an application for funding under the project?

You can find a list of solicitors firms who have experience of education cases on the following websites: http://www.legal500.com/c/london/public-sector/education-individualshttps://www.chambersandpartners.com/11805/22/editorial/1/1 and at  http://www.educationlawassociation.org.uk/

When you contact the solicitor, please provide them with a copy of the information sheet (available to download on the right-hand side), which tells them more about our project.

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