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EHRC embarks on legal aid research into Scots discrimination cases

10 April 2019

Whether legal aid enables people who raise a discrimination complaint in Scotland to get justice, is the subject of a new research project by the Equality & Human Rights Commission Scotland.

The EHRC wants to hear from any individual who has experienced discrimination in Scotland since 1 January 2016, and from non-solicitors, organisations and groups who assist people who suffer discrimination, through surveys now available until 30 April.

Separately, it will be conducting short interviews with solicitors. Any solicitor interested in taking part is invited to contact the Scotland Research team at Scotland@equalityhumanrights.com, or on 0141 228 5910.

The research, similar to a separate project for England & Wales, will look at whether legal aid for discrimination cases provides effective access to justice for people who have suffered discrimination in Scotland. It will look at:

  • how discrimination cases are funded by legal aid;
  • how many individuals receive legal aid funding for discrimination claims, including representation or assistance with bringing a case in a court or tribunal, and how this compares with evidence of the number of individuals who seek advice about discrimination;
  • whether there are barriers to effective access to legal aid;
  • whether some individuals experience specific difficulties in accessing legal aid, for example language or literacy difficulties, or because of a protected characteristic; and
  • in light of the above, whether legal aid provides effective access to justice for individuals who complain of discrimination, and whether improvements could be made to reduce barriers and improve access to justice.

Click here for the survey for individuals; and here for the survey for non-solicitors, organisations and groups. The closing date for responses was originally announced as 14 April 2019 at 2359, but has since been extended to 30 April.
 

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