EOC prepares for in-depth equality legislation revamp

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) is set to carry out a major review of the 20-year-old Sex Discrimination and Equal Pay Acts.

It wants the Government to replace the two acts with a single statute, which it hopes will clarify equality laws.

The chief legal adviser at the EOC, Alan Lakin, said that the that commission was confident that its recommendations would be heeded.

The previous Government rejected similar EOC proposals in 1988 and 1990, but Lakin said “time has clearly moved on”.

He said the EOC's attempt to have the law changed was likely to succeed this time because it reflected a general desire within the new Government to clarify legislation and make the justice system easier to understand.

The EOC has a statutory duty to review equality legislation and to recommend changes to the Government.

Lakin said that the EOC was also looking to bring domestic equality laws more in line with EU legislation. The EOC said it wanted domestic legislation to incorporate important European developments on equal opportunities.

The review will be the responsibility of a commission working party. Its recommendations are expected to be published in April 1998.