Guidance and Codes of Practice
The Equality and Human Rights Commission and other bodies have issued guidance on the Equality Act 2010.
Statutory guidance and Codes of Practice (see below) are often detailed and fairly technical. 'Non-statutory' guidance on the Equality Act aims to give accessible information for lay people. The main places where you can find this guidance are:
- Equality and Human Rights Commission: Advice and Guidance (link to EHRC website)
- Equality Act 2010: What do I need to know? (link to homeoffice.gov.uk)
Statutory guidance and Codes of Practice are issued under powers given in the legislation. They are not authoritative statements of law. The courts are not bound by them. However, legislation says that courts and tribunals must take them into account, where relevant. See further below About Statutory Guidance and Codes of Practice. The following are links to Equality Act statutory guidance and codes:
Guidance on definition of disability
- Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability (pdf, link to ODI website)
Employment Code of Practice
Services etc Code of Practice
- Equality Act Code of Practice on services, public functions and associations (pdf, link to EHRC website)
Older Codes of Practice
It seems that previous statutory Codes of Practice on the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 remain in force until revoked.
It was announced in 2012 that further statutory Codes of Practice will not be issued for the time being. The Equality and Human Rights Commission will instead issue further codes as 'non statutory codes'. Like 'non-statutory guidance' (above), non-statutory codes are not provided for in legislation. However, they will probably look like statutory Codes of Practice, and so be quite detailed.
- Drafts of some education Codes of Practice are linked from the Equality and Human Rights Commission's 'Equality Act Codes of Practice' page (link to EHRC). Revised versions of these drafts are expected to be issued as non statutory codes.
- The drafts include a Consultation draft Code of Practice on Further and Higher Education (pdf, link to EHRC). When finalised, this is to be a non statutory code.
The Statutory Guidance on definition of disability, and statutory Codes of Practice on employment, and provision of services, are not authoritative statements of law. The courts are not bound by them. However, legislation says that the courts and tribunals must take them into account where relevant.
In one House of Lords case it was said that statutory guidance "has, of course, to be taken seriously into account when it deals with the factual matters which are relevant to the application of the legal tests." However, the House of Lords saw interpretation of the statute as a matter for the judges, and in that case departed from the interpretation given in the guidance: SCA Packaging v Boyle (link to stammeringlaw.org.uk).